Hudson River School and other Nineteenth Century description
In American painting, the 19th Century was dominated by an appetite for landscape, reflecting the uniquely American attitude towards nature. The painting of the period exhibited the ambitions of the expanding nation, seeing in its pristine terrain both divine providence and worldly bounty. This period of American landscape painting, encompassing the seminal works by Thomas Cole to the final panoramas by Albert Bierstadt in the 1890s was dubbed, probably pejoratively by a late 19th century critic, The Hudson River School. The Hudson River Valley and the surrounding Catskills and White Mountains were the undisputed seat of the painters of the period, though a second generation of painters were expand their repertoire to include Western landmarks like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite as well as New England maritime scenes. Themes range from allegorical allusions to the march of the American empire to the strict observation of nature. 20th Century art historians have labeled some of the artists working from the 1850s to 1870s as Luminists because of their brilliantly lit views and emphasis on atmospheric effects, a trend ascribed to various causes as diverse as the arrival of new European pigments to the atmospheric effects of the eruption of the volcano Cotopaxi in 1877. The period of the dominance of American landscape painting closed not long before the closing of the American frontier in 1890.