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lower center, last digit illegible: T. Cole / 183[?]

Inscription Notes

[2] The catalogue lists the painting as "dated 1833," although the entry states the painting is signed and dated "1835." The provenance given is in error; the painting was confused with Francis Alexander's painting


The artist [1801-1848]; his estate, until 1857;[1] Robert M. Olyphant [1824-1918], New York, by 1867;[2] (his sale, by Robert Somerville at Chickering Hall, New York, 18-19 December 1877, 1st day, no. 64, as The Hurricane); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; acquired 2014 by the National Gallery of Art.

Exhibition History

Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street Gallery, London, Spring 1831.
Possibly Eighth Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, 8 May - 6 July 1833, no. 49, as A Tornado in the Wilderness.[1]
Artists' Fund Society of New York, Sixth Annual Exhibition at the National Academy of Design, National Academy of Design, New York, 1865, no. 210, as The Storm.
Centennial Loan Exhibition of Paintings, Selected from the Private Art Galleries, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1876, no. 241.
Exhibition of American Retrospective Art, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, no. 2810, as The Tornado.
Extended loan for use by The Louise Home, National Cathedral School for Girls, Washington, 18 December 1916 - 3 December 1934.
Survey of American Paintings, Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 24 October - 15 December 1940, no. 106, as Tornado.
The Works of Thomas Cole, 1801-1848, Albany Institute of History and Art, 1 November - 15 December 1941, unnumbered checklist, as The Tornado.
Thomas Cole: One Hundred Years Later, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1948-1949, no. 25, repro., as The Tornado.
The Romantic Century, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 22 June - 9 September 1963.
Thomas Cole: Paintings by an American Romanticist, Baltimore Museum of Art, 26 January - 28 February 1965, no. 13, as The Tornado.
Jasper F. Cropsey, 1823-1900: A Retrospective View of America's Painter of Autumn, J. Millard Tawes Fine Arts Center, University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park, 2 February - 3 March 1968, repro., as Tornado.
Thomas Cole, Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester; Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica; Albany Institute of History and Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1969, no. 28, repro., as Tornado.[2]
The Beckoning Land, Nature and the American Artist: a Selection of Nineteenth Century Paintings, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 17 April - 13 June 1971, no. 14, repro., as Tornado.
Wilderness, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 9 October - 14 November 1971, no. 72, as Tornado (organized by the National Endowment for the Arts).
The American Landscape Tradition, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 31 January - 31 August 1978, unpublished checklist.
Salvator Rosa in America, Wellesley College Art Museum, 20 April - 5 June 1979, no. 79, repro., as Tornado.
La Pintura de los Estados Unidos de Museos de la Ciudad de Washington, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico, 15 November 1980 - 6 January 1981, unnumbered catalogue, repro., as Tornado.
Thomas Cole: Landscape into History, National Museum of American Art, Washington; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; New-York Historical Society, 1994-1995, unnumbered checklist, as A Tornado in the Wilderness.

Exhibition History Notes

[1] Ellwood C. Parry III, in The Art of Thomas Cole, Newark, 1988: 132, wrote that the painting exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1833 was not this painting, but rather a version of the same subject that the artist sent to his friend Francis Alexander in 1835, which Parry identifies as The Whirlwind, currently unlocated.


Cash, Sarah, ed. Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945. Washington, 2011: 30, 292, repro.

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