Met Custom Prints
Home

Thomas Cole

View from Mount Holyoke after a Thunderstorm - The Oxbow

About the Artwork

View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm - The Oxbow, 1836. Thomas Cole. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1908.
Long known as The Oxbow, this work is a masterpiece of American landscape painting, laden with possible interpretations. In the midst of painting The Course of Empire (New-York Historical Society), Cole mentioned in a letter dated March 2, 1836, to his patron Luman Reed that he was executing a large version of this subject expressly for exhibition and sale. The picture was shown at the National Academy of Design in 1836 as View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm. Cole's interest in the subject probably dates from his 1829–32 trip to Europe, during which he made an exact tracing of the view published in Basil Hall's Forty Etchings Made with the Camera Lucida in North America in 1827 and 1828. Hall criticized Americans' inattentiveness to their scenery, and Cole responded with a landscape that lauds the uniqueness of America by encompassing "a union of the picturesque, the sublime, and the magnificent." Although often ambiguous about the subjugation of the land, here the artist juxtaposes untamed wilderness and pastoral settlement to emphasize the possibilities of the national landscape, pointing to the future prospect of the American nation. Cole's unequivocal construction and composition of the scene, charged with moral significance, is reinforced by his depiction of himself in the middle distance, perched on a promontory painting the Oxbow. He is an American producing American art, in communion with American scenery. There are both sketchbook drawings with annotations and related oil sketches of this subject. Many other artists copied or imitated the painting.

Popular Images

About Our Prints

Quality
Met Custom Prints offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in The Met collection. Thanks to gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.
Selection
This is the only place you’ll find reproductions approved by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. We are continually adding new artworks to our offering, so be sure to check back regularly as you build your own gallery. A variety of molding styles means our custom framed prints can match any type of decor.

Member Discounts

Met Members will receive their 10% discount for all Met Custom Prints purchases. If you are Member, enter your ID when you check out; once your Membership has been validated, your discount will be applied. Member discounts cannot be combined with other offers.