View of Hudson River at West Point

Junior Interpreter, Michelle, shares some insights into a painting by Thomas Chambers:

"When you walk into the dimly lit exhibit of the Hudson River School gallery at the Albany Institute, there’s one artwork that stands out among the rest. It’s my favorite piece in that room, View of Hudson River at West Point, by Thomas Chambers. Chambers was born in England, but moved to America in his 20s, spending most of his time in the Boston & Albany area. View of Hudson River at West Point contrasts the natural, muted colors of other landscape pieces in the exhibit. It almost has a cartoonish style, with the round trees lining the road on top the cliffs, to the popping, white sailboats lazily floating on the water. You can even see all the detailed lining of the vegetation on the cliffs, not to mention the rocky texture of the swooping mountains. My absolute favorite part of this painting is the sky; it’s so dreamy and orange, so heavenly, like it’s right out of a Disney movie.

The Hudson River School is famous for its landscapes, normally very romantic and realistic, with sublime wilderness and blended colors. I just love how Chamber’s work challenges that art style. Looking at his other paintings, the water in his Niagra Falls could resemble white cotton candy clouds, and the whimsical pink-and-purple sunset of his View from Nahant at Sunset conjures the mood of fantasy. He makes artwork that mirror fairytale lands, but also keeps that perfect touch of realism."

View of Hudson River at West Point, Thomas Chambers (1808-1869), c. 1855, Oil on canvas, 22 H x 30 W, Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase 1958.51