Date of Award

August 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Dr. Tanya Tiffany

Second Advisor

Dr. Linda Brazeau


American Art, Art Exhibition, Art History, History, Nineteenth-century, Thomas Cole


Using Thomas Cole’s 1836 “Essay on American Scenery” as a touchstone, “American Beauty” argues that Cole’s influence on American landscape painting goes well past the second generation of Hudson River artists, to include painters such as George Inness, Alexander Wyant, Edmund Darch Lewis and other late nineteenth-century artists. These artists had different life experiences, different technique and for the most part a different spiritual outlook. Yet the fundamental message of Cole’s essay—that citizens and artists should value American scenery for its pristine wildness—carries through to the end of the century and is evident in their art. Cole’s “Essay” is visionary in its insistence on the need for an American, as opposed to European, school of art.