Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire

11 June – 7 October 2018

Ground Floor Galleries

Book online and save

Watch empires rise and fall, and lose yourself in the vast American wilderness, in the first UK exhibition dedicated to Thomas Cole

A self-taught artist from Bolton in England, Thomas Cole (1801–1848) was the greatest American landscape artist of his generation.

This exhibition is a rare chance to see Cole’s epic works – mostly travelling from America – including his masterpiece the ‘Oxbow’, and his awe-inspiring portrayals of Eden showing the force of nature.

Cole’s paintings are shown alongside the sublime masterpieces that inspired him, such as swirling storms painted by Turner and nightmarish battle scenes created by Constable.

While you’re here, see a free exhibition – inspired by Cole’s ‘The Course of Empire’ – by arguably the most famous artist working in Los Angeles today, Ed Ruscha.

Thomas Cole, 'View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm – The Oxbow', 1836 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Info sign

Thomas Cole, 'View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm – The Oxbow', 1836 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, photo by Juan Trujillo

Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: The Savage State', 1836. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Edition
Info sign

Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: The Savage State', 1836 © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Edition

Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: The Pastoral or Arcadian State', 1834. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions
Info sign

Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: The Pastoral or Arcadian State', 1834 © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions

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
Info sign

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

Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction', 1836. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions
Info sign

Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: Destruction', 1836 © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions

Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: Desolation', 1836. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions
Info sign

Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: Desolation', 1836 © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions

Thomas Cole, 'View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm – The Oxbow', 1836 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: The Savage State', 1836. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Edition
Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: The Pastoral or Arcadian State', 1834. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions
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
Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction', 1836. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions
Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: Desolation', 1836. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions

Exhibition organised by the National Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Sponsored by White & Case

Exhibition supported by:

With additional support from Mme Alice Goldet

Image above: Detail from Thomas Cole, 'The Course of Empire: Desolation', 1836. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society © Collection of The New-York Historical Society, New York / Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions