James Fennimore Cooper’s writing depicts an idealized and imaginary past which creates a visual landscape of the American nation as he envisioned its appearance as a developing nation. In effect, he used literary imagery to create a mythic past which inspired both artists and painters active in the country between 1880 and 1840. The use of artistic metaphor by Cooper, Hawthorn, and Poe is mirrored in the painting of early American Painters such as Thomas Cole, George Inness, Asher Durand, and Frederic Church. The ideal and mythic landscapes created in both paintings and literature. The Influence of the artists and writers in developing a unique American tradition is clear in these artistic traditions and influence later American realism.
James Crawford is a college professor and historian currently residing in Orland Florida. He has taught at Central Piedmont Community College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Prior to that he was a curator and educator in art and local history museums, including the Bennington Museum and Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery (now Arkell Art Museum). He has given papers at the James Fennimore Cooper conference and New York History Conference) both about Cooper and his role promoting American Painting. In addition to the Hudson River School, his research interests include Winslow Homer and George Inness.