T105 | Hudson River School: Artists and Influences |
Ralph Pearson

Tuesdays -
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. | Six Sessions -
6/11, 6/18, 6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16


Hudson River School painters took landscape art to new heights in the mid-nineteenth century. Their depictions of young America’s edenic wilderness contributed to the formation of our nation’s cultural identity while influencing later artistic and environmental movements.

The course begins with earlier European art’s influence on the innovative Hudson River School, often described as without antecedents. Pioneers Thomas Cole and Asher Durand are discussed in detail before moving to the second generation of Frederic Church and Luminists John Kensett, Sanford Gifford and others. As America expanded westward, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran and early photographers brought Hudson River School techniques and sensibilities with them in the waning days of the School’s popularity.

Considerable use is made of video clips featuring noted art historians and curators. The course provides background for visits to artists’ homes currently maintained as historic sites in the Hudson Valley of New York State and the Hudson River School Art Trail.

Ralph Pearson has taught several OLLI courses focused on landscape art history. In a lengthy career in hospitality and travel, he's managed resort inns and has led tours worldwide. He currently serves on OLLI’s new travel committee and is a member of the Circumnavigators Club. Having grown up in the Hudson Valley, he treks the same woods as did the artists and enjoys sharing the beauty and meaning of their work. Ralph earned his B.A. from the University of Buffalo and his MPS from Cornell University.

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