Schumer attends unveiling of frieze at Cole Site
A long-lost frieze by Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of painting, was revealed Wednesday at the artist’s one-time home in the village.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was on hand for the unveiling, approximately 18 months after the museum announced part of the frieze had been discovered under paint long ago used to coat one of the walls in the historic home.
“This discovery was a historic moment for Upstate New York and all American culture,” Schumer said in a statement, “and I was proud to help deliver the federal funding needed to make this recovery and restoration project possible. After 18 months of hard work, I am beyond thrilled to be here today as the Thomas Cole Historic Site reveals what treasures it has discovered and shares them with the world.”
Schumer steered roughly $600,000 toward restoration of the frieze and rooms in the home to Cole’s original design.
Schumer said he was pushing for an additional $500,000 to help the museum install a fire suppression system to keep the art safe. “Without the initial federal grant last year, who knows how long these beautiful painted borders would have remained undiscovered,” Schumer added. “These kinds of federal investments have helped propel discovery and preservation right here in Greene County, and we need to build on that success.”
Cole, who lived and worked at the Greene County home from the 1830s until his death in 1848, created the friezes around 1836. They were painted over around 1900, probably by Cole family members trying to spruce up the house. They remained hidden until a paint analyst hired by the site discovered Cole’s original handiwork in January.
At a news event on July 2, Betsy Jacks, executive director of the Thomas Cole Historic Site, said they hoped to uncover and preserve a representative sample of the frieze, then recreate the pattern elsewhere around the walls of both rooms.
Online: A video and a photo gallery are posted with this story at DAILYFREEMAN.COM.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, right, with Betsy Jacks, executive director of the Thomas Cole Historic Site, during Wednesday’s unveiling of a frieze painted by Cole.