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Opposite, clockwise from below left: A sunflower painting by Cole’s daughter sits on the table in his bedroom. The old studio shares space with the visitor’s center in one outbuilding. Cole’s Diagram of Kontrasts, 1834, is on display in the main house’s second floor gallery, along with the painter’s sketch box (shown this page, below).


These artists, along with iconic writers James Fenimore Cooper and William Cullen Bryant, were the genesis of America’s unique cultural narrative. When he married Thomson’s niece in 1836, Cedar Grove became his home, and he quickly set about putting his touches on the place. The foyer and twin parlors were redecorated as suitable backdrops for his artwork. Intricate decorative borders, painted by Cole himself, were recently discovered beneath a century’s accumulation of paint and wallpaper. Now restored, the borders reveal his love of color and detail, as well as his range of artistic talents. In 2001, Cedar Grove opened as the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, allowing visitors to witness firsthand the environs that spurred this virtuoso to share his perspective with the extraordinary masterpieces still treasured today. 70

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