In the Simmental, Switzerland

Thomas Cole1843

Spencer Museum of Art

Spencer Museum of Art

Cole is primarily known for his Hudson River landscapes. His paintings brought him out of poverty and into fame and fortune in America during his lifetime. Cole’s eventual wealth and status afforded him the opportunity to travel to Europe for an extended Grand Tour of England, France, Switzerland, and Italy in the early 1840s. In contrast to the voyages of many wealthy tourists, Cole’s Grand Tour served as a research trip. He made copious notes and sketches of his travels in anticipation of returning to America to paint and sell his impressions of Europe’s natural wonders. He described the Alps as “stupendous mountains with snow-clad summits, impending crags, black pinnacles of rock, foaming torrents and houses clustered in the depths of the valleys,” adding that these features “combined to produce such pictures of savage grandeur and pastoral beauty as one could never have imagined.” Cole painted In the Simmental in 1843 from sketches drawn during this trip, authenticating the scene with the inclusion of a resting group of Simmental cattle, a breed not yet seen in North America, in a verdant Alpine valley.

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  • Title: In the Simmental, Switzerland
  • Creator: Thomas Cole
  • Date Created: 1843
  • Physical Dimensions: Canvas/Support Dimensions: 51 x 76 cm, Canvas/Support Dimensions: 20 1/16 x 29 7/8 in
  • Type: paintings
  • Medium: oil on canvas