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The 100 best paintings in New York: New-York Historical Society

Discover which of the 100 best paintings in New York can be found at the New-York Historical Society

Written by
Time Out New York contributors
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The Course of Empire: Destruction (1836), Thomas Cole
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Rogers Fund; 1956

The Course of Empire: Destruction (1836), Thomas Cole

Rank: 32

A founding father of the Hudson River School, English-born Thomas Cole is best known for his depictions of the American wilderness. Reflecting Americans’ concerns of the period that empire would inevitably lead to dissolution, Cole’s “Empire” series of five paintings charts the rise and fall of an imaginary civilization. In this, the fourth work in the cycle, a city burns and a bridge collapses under the weight of battling armies.—Anne Doran

Photograph: Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Rogers Fund; 1956

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