Church studied painting from 18446 under Thomas Cole in Catskill, New York state, making summer sketching trips to East Hampton, Long Island and the Catskills. By the time Cole died, in 1848, Church was established as a landscape painter in his own right. He moved into a studio in Manhattan in 1847, and continued making summer trips throughout New York state and New England, making sketches to use as the basis for large-scale works completed in his studio. In 1853 and 1857 Church travelled to South America, where he made sketches for later paintings such as Cotopaxi 1862. He also visited Niagara Falls several times during the 1850s; Niagara, exhibited in 1857, was an immediate sensation, establishing him as America’s foremost landscape artist. In 1859, Church’s Heart of the Andes was sold for $10,000, then the highest price ever paid for a work by a living American artist. In the same year Church travelled to Newfoundland and Labrador where he studied icebergs, resulting in a spectacular canvas, Icebergs 1861, shown in New York in a one-work exhibition, surrounded by elaborate draperies which are re-created in this exhibition. Church’s travels in North Africa and the Middle East influenced the Orientalist mansion, ‘Olana’, which he built on a hilltop near the Hudson River.