The conference marks the close at the National Gallery of the major loan exhibition Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire. (Sunday 7 October is the final day.) Twelve speakers, including exhibition curators Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Tim Barringer (Yale University) and Christopher Riopelle (National Gallery), along with leading scholars of Cole and American art and literature from both sides of the Atlantic, address key aspects of the international exchange Cole’s return to England and Europe in 1829-32 occasioned for his own art and that of succeeding generations of American artists. Four sessions over two days, concluding with remarks by the doyen of Cole studies Alan Wallach (William & Mary), explore the implications of Cole’s career in an international context. All in attendance are invited to participate in wide-ranging discussions following each session.

Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: The Consummation of Empire', 1835–6. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society
Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: The Consummation of Empire', 1835–6. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions

DAY ONE Friday 5 October 2018

10:00 REGISTRATION (Tea & Coffee provided)
Conference Room 1, Sainsbury Wing

Gabriele Finaldi (Director, National Gallery) & Christopher Riopelle (The Neil Westreich Curator of Post 1800 Paintings, National Gallery)

10:45 – 12:30 SESSION 1 (Chair: Christopher Riopelle, National Gallery)

  • 10:45 Tim Barringer (Yale University), Curatorial Introduction / Cole’s Industrial Revolution
  • 11:25 Catherine Roach (Virginia Commonwealth University), Thomas Cole and the Problem of Abundance in London, 1829-1831
  • 11:50 Diane Apostolos-Cappadona (Georgetown University), The Garden Regained: Thomas Cole and the Visual Rhetoric of Christian Romanticism

12:15 Discussion

12:30 LUNCH (provided)

14:00 – 15:30 SESSION 2 (Chair: David Peters Corbett, Courtauld Institute of Art)

  • 14:00 Elizabeth Kornhauser (Metropolitan Museum of Art), The Oxbow: Manifesto for American Art
  • 14:25 Alan Braddock (College of William & Mary), No Pic-Nic: Ecology and the Trouble with Wilderness in American Landscape Art
  • 14:50 Linda Freedman (University College London), Rediscovering Eden: The sense of touch in Cole and Whitman

15:15 Discussion

15:30 TEA & COFFEE (provided)

SELF-GUIDED VISIT to Thomas Cole – Eden to Empire
Ground Floor Galleries, Main Building

18:00 WINE RECEPTION (All delegates welcome)
Conference Room 1 & 2, Sainsbury Wing

DAY TWO Saturday 6 October 2018

10:30 REGISTRATION (Tea & Coffee provided)

  • 11:00 – 12:30 SESSION 3 (Chair: Alan Crookham, National Gallery)
  • 11:00 Arnika Groenewald-Schmidt (Belvedere, Vienna), Thomas Cole’s Florence: Expectations, Realities and Missed Opportunities
  • 11:25 Christopher Riopelle (National Gallery), Cole’s Debt to Contemporary French Art?
  • 11:50 Franklin Kelly (National Gallery of Art, Washington), Thomas Cole’s Impact on the Following Generation

12:15 Discussion

12:30 LUNCH (provided)

  • 14:00 – 15:30 SESSION 4 (Chair: Andrew Wilton)
  • 14:00 Jennifer Raab (Yale University), Cosmos and Detail: The Language of Landscape in Thomas Cole and Frederic Church
  • 14:25 Shannon Vittoria (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Thomas Moran from Bolton to Colorado

Alan Wallach (Emeritus Professor, College of William & Mary), Reflections on Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings

15:30 Discussion & Final Remarks

15:45 CLOSE

Please contact [email protected] to attend. Places are limited but there is no charge to participate. Lunch and refreshments are provided for all participants on both days. The Friday session ends with a visit to Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire, followed by a wine reception.

If you would like to join us please express your interest by RSVPing by Tuesday 2nd October 2018 so that seating and catering requirements can be met.

Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire is a collaborative project of the National Gallery with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where it was first shown earlier this year. The exhibition traces Cole’s early years in Lancashire, his emigration to America in 1818, his growing ambition as a landscape painter, return to England and the Continent between June 1829 and October 1832, and the results on his art and that of his students and followers of that period of intense exposure to contemporary European landscape painting. It includes both the monumental cycle The Course of Empire (New-York Historical Society) and Cole’s manifesto of American landscape painting, The Ox-Bow, an unprecedented loan to London by the Metropolitan Museum. Both the exhibition and the international conference are generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art.