Our featured artists, Erik Koeppel and Lauren Sansaricq met at the birthplace of the Hudson River School of Art. The Kaaterskill Falls in New York is where this art style found its roots, paving the way as America’s first major art tradition. Erik and Lauren’s work reflects this romantic painting style, immersing the viewer in scenes that evoke awe of the natural world.
The Hudson River School of art was created by a group of artists, including Thomas Cole, around 1850. Rather than an art academy, the Hudson River School was more of an artist community, with several of these well-known artists even working in the same studio building together. As well as being friends, they shared the same subject matter for their work–romantic landscapes.
The Hudson River painters took advantage of the wilderness of America and accentuated it to create their work. Their paintings were distinctly American to international viewers, because they illustrated the untouched landscapes that existed in abundance in America during that time. These artists would travel to view these remote vistas and create sketches or miniature paintings that they would bring back to their studio to expand and elaborate on. The concept of painting from memory, as a tool to distill the most essential and dramatic parts of a landscape, was greatly encouraged.
Another key element to the Hudson River art tradition was use of the “sublime”. This was a concept where the powerful and sometimes terrifying aspects of nature were captured in an image. This can be seen in the painting below by Albert Bierstadt. The dramatic storm clouds add an element of fear to this painting, making the landscape even more magnificent.
The Hudson River School of Art died off around 1900, with new art styles coming into fashion. But Eric and Lauren have revived this tradition. They believe this style of landscape painting has more significance as people become more interested in preserving nature for future generations.
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