The Hudson River School: Landscape Paintings from the Albany Institute

Study of Nature, Dresden, Lake George, David Johnson (1827–1908), 1870, oil on canvas, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard C. Rockwell, 1971.29.1


The Albany Institute holds a large and important collection of nineteenth-century American landscape paintings, works often associated with the term “Hudson River School.” They number more than ninety paintings and range in dimension from large wall-sized canvases to small business card-sized oil sketches on paper.

We know from visitors the Hudson River School paintings are among the Institute’s most popular collections, and other museums request to borrow them for exhibitions more often than other collections. With such great interest in these works of national significance, the Institute is making them more accessible.

In the summer of 2017, the Institute opened a reinstallation of its Hudson River School paintings in the Hearst Gallery on the museum’s third floor. For the first time, nearly all ninety paintings from this important collection is on view. These landscapes, painted by artists like Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Jasper Cropsey, Asher Durand, and numerous others, capture America’s scenic grandeur in all its magnificence from rugged coastal scenery to imposing mountains and rivers.

Many paintings in the Institute’s collection depict the nation during decades of transformation from a country of small towns and farms to one of industrial works and sprawling urban centers. The nation was also in the midst of rapid westward expansion and political conflict that reshaped its social identity and cultural outlook. Developments in transportation allowed artists to travel more widely, frequently beyond the nation’s borders, to Europe and more distant corners of the globe, and return to their home country with sketchbooks full of inspiration and new ideas. The paintings on view, therefore, reveal a visual history of the United States during the nineteenth century, including its aspirations and growing nostalgia for a simpler and more harmonious past.

Gallery Guide

Visiting our galleries and interested in learning more about the paintings? Click here for a PDF of our exhibition labels. Thank you!

Virtual Visit: 3D Tour of Hudson River School Exhibition

Unable to visit? Explore our wonderful collection of Hudson River School landscape paintings from your home! Click on the project below or click here to be redirected to a new window.

3D Tour by Hudson Reality Capture generously donated by Tom Nardacci.

Learn More about the Hudson River School

To learn more about the Hudson River School and how landscape art influenced American culture, visit our online exhibition The Making of the Hudson River School.

Exhibition Sponsors

The Albany Institute thanks the over 225 donors who contributed to this exhibition and publication. Major funding has been provided by Christine and George R. Hearst III, Lois and David Swawite and Omni Development Company, with additional support from Fenimore Asset Management, Inc., Keeler Motor Car Company, Herzog's Home and Paint Centers, Mrs. Arlen Westbrook, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Baldwin, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. James C. Goodfellow, Mr. William M. Harris and Ms. Holly A. Katz, Paul and Alane Hohenberg, Mr. Charles M. Liddle III, Robert and Doris Malesardi, Mr. and Mrs. Peter J. Maloy, Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence R. Marwill, Mr. George McNamee, Martha Waddell Olson, Professor and Mrs. Nicholas Robinson, Stuyvesant Plaza, Inc., and Mr. and Mrs. Bart Trudeau.

Programmatic and exhibition support is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

Season exhibition support is provided by Phoebe Powell Bender, Mr. and Mrs. George R. Hearst III, Charles M. Liddle III, Lois and David Swawite, and the Carl E. Touhey Foundation, Inc.


The Institute’s project will culminate in a 200-page catalogue of its Hudson River School paintings. Each work will be represented with a color image along with information about history, subject matter, and artistic vision. Please check back for the release date.