Dr.Sascha Scott, Associate Professor of Art History at Syracuse University, examines the Hudson River School, closely connected with the Erie Canal, framed by the field of Indigenous studies with an emphasis on the impact of colonialism.
The Hudson River school is celebrated as America’s first national aesthetic movement. Paintings by the movement’s founder, Thomas Cole, and his followers depict the Hudson River Valley, Catskills, and Lake George region as beautiful, tranquil, empty, and uncontested. This aesthetic movement rose to acclaim in the 1830s and was the dominant national style by the 1850s. During these same decades, the U.S. government was implementing the aggressive removal of Native peoples from their homelands—policies that built on centuries of Indigenous displacement by European powers. This talk will consider the relationship between art, settler colonialism, and Indigenous peoples, understanding Hudson River paintings as landscapes of forgetting. Through the erasure of Indigenous peoples and contested histories, Hudson River landscape paintings played a key role in the settler colonial project of transforming Indigenous places into American spaces. This is a hybrid event. Registration maybe completed here: https://eriecanalmuseum.org/store/product/deeper-dive/