Mystery painting by COLE?

Sometimes I feel like pulling my hair out and today would be a good example. I was browsing through my favorite thrift store (Goodwill – Las Vegas), looking for small treasures for still life paintings and some used frames that would have some good life left in them. And I ran across this … 

I loved it as soon as I saw it and had to have it.  Where does the hair pulling part come in?  It comes from wondering who painted it.  It is signed “COLE” in the bottom right of the painting.  That’s all.  Nothing on the back.  Nothing on the edges of the canvas.  Nothing.

 So, you would think in this day and time that finding out about this artist with Google would work.  Not a chance.  Do you know how many artists there are with the name Cole on the internet?  Could it be a Thomas Cole?  That would be nice, but no, this isn’t the way he signed his paintings. 

I searched through about one hundred different artist websites and pages looking for this Cole and didn’t find anything that would say I had found my artist.

So, I have a really nice landscape painting by Cole.  That’s all I know.  If you happen to know any more than this I would love to hear from you. 


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47 Responses to Mystery painting by COLE?

  1. J. McCabe says:

    I got one too. Same scenario, Thrift store, nice painting, signature in lower right corner simply “Cole” After a few hours of scouring the web I finally ended up here. LOL


  2. Ranae says:

    A friend gave me one today. Exact same signature. The canvas and frame both look fairly new. I just started researching and also ended up here lol


  3. Anonymous says:

    I went to a thrift store and got the same exact signature on one also.


  4. Manda Kay says:

    I just brought one home too! Guy really should sign his paintings better as he's really good 😉 My signature is not nearly as slopply done as the one pictured but it's quite similar. Mine is much larger and of a building and a water wheel. Beautiful painting color wise of a sun set. Has a Hudson Valley look to it but yeah, doesn't have a “Thomas Cole” signature 😦


  5. Anonymous says:

    Definitely not a Thomas Cole, and not his signature.


  6. My great grandmother taught art in the 60's/70's. She passed away a few years ago, and I had inherited some of her paintings & random ones from her collection.
    Everytime I look at this one landscape, I really like it. I finally decided to look up the artist, and BAM here I am on your blog. Same signature, similar story.
    Maybe we should have a mystery artist gallery showing. We all get our paintings together and see if this guy shows. lol
    If anyone ever finds anything out let me know


  7. I have one also. It might help if we knew what area of the country we found our paintings. Mine was found in a thrift store in Portland, Oregon.


  8. I bought today I think the same as Manda Kay described. Thrift store. Sacramento CA. On back side is a stamped tag: 24×36 $37


  9. Yup. Got a beautiful sunrise landscape cabin painting. This one was given to us by my sister-in-law's mom and has been hanging in her home of 60 years for as long as she (sister-in-law) can remember. It certainly is a mystery. And yes, too bad it's not a Thomas Cole! LOL!


  10. Forgot to say the area where I got the painting – town outside of Windsor, Ontario Canada. Talk about these paintings being spread out! The painter sure got around!


  11. Ricker says:

    ok guys.. count me in.. I found this painting with the same exact signature of Cole on the bottom right in a thrift store in st pete florida…. i have a photo but not sure how to post it


  12. Eli ayala says:

    I have one also of a lake in front of Snow Toped Mountains two Sailboats on the lake Surrounded by Trees and Green Foilage
    Houston Texas Purchased from a Garage Sale 5$


  13. Alberto says:

    Same here. Cole signature on bottom right corner. Located in anahiem, Ca


  14. Melissa says:

    All the paintings with that signature came from artistic interiors Inc they were mass produced in Mexico they sold thousands of them.back in the late 70’s early 80’s they had parties like Tupper ware.


  15. Brittany Franzie says:

    I have a COLE painting mine is a captain in the clouds looking down on a ship in the sea? Are these worth anything? This canvas was my grandfather who passed away and it was given to me…


  16. Scott & Emma says:

    We just picked one up here in a thrift shop in Alberta yesterday and have been trying to track down who the artist could be. It was framed by a (now out of business) shop in Saskachewan sometime from problably the 1970’s. Ours is quite large (approx 27″ x 38″) and shows a small delapidated cabin in the woods at a river’s edge where it joins a lake. It looks late fall with autumnal trees in yellow and some evergreens in the foreground and very craggy mountains in the distance set against a grey, wintery sky. The signature is nearly identical to the one in the picture posted. It’s definitely an original painting even if it was part of a mass-produced line. If anyone can provide any further definite information on the artist, we would love to know more!


    • I think I would have to agree with Melissa on this. Most likely mass produced in some factory somewhere, kind of like the Chinese factory paintings we’re seeing nowadays. Doesn’t matter to me though. I still love the painting, even if I can’t find out who painted it.


      • Scott & Emma says:

        We agree. We love ours and even if there are 999 others painted with the same depiction, no two are exactly the same so in their own right are unique. And just because something is mass produced doesn’t mean it doesn’t have or take on value at some point later on. More and more people are desiring things of some particular nostalgic element or another. Either way, it brightens up our den and we still feel like we found a hidden treasure.


  17. Jo says:

    I bought one too a couple of years ago on Ebay. It is stunning and quite large. the only thing i was told was that it hung in a Dr.’s home for a very long time. I love it. I am in Pittsburgh, PA


  18. Susan Darnell says:

    Has anyone left any pictures anywhere of their paintings? I just bought one today in Crossville, TN


  19. Tom G says:

    They are sold at the starving artists show that are held all over the country and most likely are mass produced.


  20. Craig Bennett says:

    My dad was born in 1922 and he said he remembers our COLE painting as a kid. It’s hard to believe no one knows who COLE is.


  21. Al says:

    Cole paintings are original and very well done. All his art uses the same technique and have similarities. George Whitman who is currently a professor of art also mass painted similar scenes of whimsical landscapes and is an extremely talented artist. A lot of G. Whitman’s works have been sold by departments and various art shops in the 70s. George Whitman is listed and information is available. However we need a first name for Cole. I am an art collector and I can say that my large Cole painting is worth more to my eyes than some of the paintings in the thousands of $$$ that I own. The blend of colors used to depict the natural scenes are beautiful!


  22. Michael H. says:

    I also purchased one at a thrift store in Decatur Alabama, but mine seems to be much smaller. It’s 8×10 in size with a few trees in front of older looking buildings with snow capped mountains in the background.


  23. This is quite funny, my parents bought a big Cole painting in the mid 80’s but from a market place in Finland!! 😀 It seems that all the posts are from the US, so this is confusing! 🙂 I tried to put a link to our painting to the website part.

    I also though that I’d look for some information about this artist Cole and I got into this site… 🙂


  24. jason says:

    I picked one up a few years back, a larg one cabin by the stream beautiful trees all day long the painting changes with shadows, the artist is deffinately very very tallented


    • jason says:

      Jason again, my cole painting is a view of the mystery painting but from farther left, looking down the stream with a cabin on the right bank, same two trees on the right and the one on the left, my painting is deffinately an old one


  25. Brenda says:

    In keeping with all of the other “mystery” artist Cole paintings, I picked one up today as well at, you guessed it, a thrift store. A large landscape painting of tall cedars, a winding river opening up to a lake and mountains. Very beautiful. Didn’t buy it for anything more than the fact that I simply loved the painting.


  26. Jessica says:

    I have one too! Garage sale $5
    No idea who the artist is so I’ve commissioned a gallery to find out for ne.


  27. Mary Close says:

    I bought an oil painting, 1990 @ a store going out of business . Painting was $ 400.00 , got it for $75.00 plus framing. Signed { COLE } bottom right corner.Beautiful lake in background ,misty morning ,maybe fall ,small water falls , cabin toward the middle right , green pines . on both sides of the falls. Looking for painter .

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Zw says:

    I found a small COLE at Goodwill in SE Portland, OR. It’s the stream with trees on the shore. Mine is 5 x 7 and on PRESSBOARD! Old fashion frame.


  29. Mary Morrissey says:

    I have a “CoLe painting signature is different in the right hand corner of the painting. I love it and it is an identical painting to your scenery but painted in the winter with snow. Looks like the exact spot that were the summer painting was painted. I bought it in a restaurant in Revere Beach that has been torned down now back in 1976. I too was looking to see if this “Cole” was famous because I love this painting so much but it brought me to this site. Hope my artist finds this blog.


  30. AD says:

    I have a Cole also. Picture of 2 mallard ducks flying over a snowy Lake with a snowy forest in the background. Most beautiful picture in my home. I got it for free.


  31. Crucita Gonzalez says:

    Same here. Cole signature on bottom right corner. Located in Youngstown, Ohio


  32. I just acquired a large 40 x 29 painting by Cole. Trees with sun and stream with a water wheel and cabin signed COLE lower right. Bought at auction


  33. James says:

    I can say that I’m a proud member of the COLE bunch, bought mine in Harlan, KY!


  34. James Grills says:

    Sorry, I forgot for a minute, I actually bought mine on eBay, I live in Harlan, KY. My painting is an actual oil painting, you can see and feel the brush strokes in it. The signature COLE is on the left side of the painting which is stretched canvas on a frame. Any one else have one like this?


  35. mike young says:

    i too have a large approximately 27×38 “COLE” lrh corner . a path with pond/stream and large leaning trees on either side, a field, distant trees and clouded blue sky in background . Arklatex region thrift shop find I have enjoyed many years.and like most this is the closest I’ve come to


  36. Lora says:

    My grandmother got it for free from a friend having a yard sale in southern Florida. About 30 years ago. Currently in nj. Beautiful hand carved wooden frame. Sunset in the woods, a river and a building with a water wheel. Signed COLE bottom right.


  37. Paul Martin says:

    Lol, I also have a large “COLE” signed painting, same signature in bottom right hand corner. Strong brush strikes, trees on both side, huge craft mountain and sky. Got it from a church rummage sale in Washington state, framing looks old.


  38. pamdoughty5469 says:

    This is so interesting, I googled COLE artist and ended up here! I also have the one with the leaning pine trees with stream and cabin in the back right, looks like Fall with the leaves turning. Signed CoLe in the right corner! Beautiful picture that most people guess as a painter of light, Thomas Kinkade! I love mysteries and really would love to know who the artist is! A thrift store find from Jasper, Ind.




  40. Tania says:

    Snowy background, trees with a river and a cabin. Oil painted and you can see the actual brush strokes. Located in Toronto Ontario, anyone else have one of these? Dimensions are about a meter long, around 50cm of height.


  41. Adeana W. says:

    My husband found a painting for me at the local Goodwill the other day. Same thing signed COLE. Mine is a picture of Utah or something with cactuses. I’ve searched Cole cactus oil painting and I found a couple of them that are similar to The one my husband brought home. Not sure if it’s just a very good copy that someone painted or if it’s actually ecole. Whoever he may be lol.


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