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“Catskill’s China Painter”: The Botanical Art of Emily Cole and the Politics of Women’s Work within American Painting Traditions
Join Amanda Malmstrom (she/her), Associate Curator at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, for this presentation exploring the life, work, and legacy of Emily Cole (1843-1913), a lifelong artist of botanicals and painted porcelain. Emily chose as her subject plants and their flowers, close-up and in isolation, celebrating the Catskill landscape through methods differing from that of Hudson River School painters like her father Thomas Cole, who depicted the sweeping, picturesque, and sublime vistas of landscapes. Emily Cole created an extensive oeuvre of works which she sold and exhibited in the Hudson Valley and New York City, where she also served as a charter member of the New York Society of Ceramic Arts in 1892. Through her presentation, Malmstrom will explore Emily Cole’s relationship with her family and lifelong home in Catskill, NY, and well as with the Church family residing across the river in Hudson, NY. Recent discoveries show that Frederic Church served as a mentor to Emily Cole while she was at art school, and Church’s daughter Isabel or “Downie” confided in Emily Cole as close friends and fellow botanical artists. Emily Cole’s life, art, and personal and professional circles provides a lens not only into American flower painting in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, but a way to examine the social and political implications of women’s work during this period and as presented at historic sites and museums today.

Amanda Malmstrom (she/her) is Associate Curator at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, where she first served as a Cole Fellow in 2018-2019. Her work and research at the Cole Site has centered on highlighting the lives and labor of women who called the historic site home and who painted in the Hudson River School. In 2019, Malmstrom curated “The Art of Emily Cole” which was th

Mar 15, 2022 06:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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