Cole's Circle


Gilmor, Jr., Robert (1774–1848)

Merchant and prominent nineteenth-century art collector from Baltimore. One of Cole's early patrons, Gilmor commissioned A Wild Scene in 1831, which became the basis for The Course of Empire: The Savage State (1834). The correspondence between Gilmor and Cole reflects their conflicting opinions about composition and subject matter, and Cole often struggled with the difficult decision of whether to exercise his artistic autonomy or to paint exclusively to meet his patron's requirements.