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Thomas Cole (1801-1848), today remembered as the “founder” of the Hudson River School, influenced two generations of American landscape painters. His followers—Asher B. Durand, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, among others—lauded expansion and material progress. By contrast, Cole lamented the destruction of nature that progress entailed. His paintings and writings, which celebrate a nature untouched by modernization, went against the mainstream opinion of his time. Today they seem prophetic.

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