Frederic Edwin Church’s Clouds Over Olana

Meet the Artists of Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture

A painting of clouds

Frederic Edwin Church, Clouds Over Olana, August 1872, oil on paper, 8 2/3 x 12 1/8 in., Olana State Historic Site, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, OL.1976.1.

About this Artwork

In 1872 Church built his home and studio on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River. He called it Olana, which he interpreted to mean the “center of the universe.” In it the artist hung artworks that represented high points in his career. Outdoors, Church sculpted the terrain, creating a pond and five miles of carriage roads and planting hundreds of trees to achieve the optimal view from each vantage point. Like Humboldt’s Cosmos, Olana was Church’s summation of his life’s work and interests.