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Ellis Island

When I visited this great port-of-entry for some 22 million immigrants, I was profoundly moved by a new appreciation for the powerful promise of American freedom. The dream of a better life for themselves and their families prompted so many to attempt the perilous voyage. Seasick and heartsick, packed into the holds of overcrowded ships, our parents and grandparents bid farewell to the world they had known and headed bravely into an unknowable future.

For them, Ellis Island – neighboring the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor – represented the commencement of that future.

I tried to see the island through the eyes of an immigrant – weary, wary, proud, immensely, hopeful. The formidable government buildings must have inspired a mix of hope and fear. For most, they were portals to opportunity, but for some they were the end of a dream. The massive wooden beams once anchoring the boats that ferried the hopeful to a new life still stand in the harbor. What stories they could tell!

As I painted Ellis Island, it seemed to me that some of those stories of courage and adventure whispered in my ear.

  • Ellis Island is the first painting in Thomas Kinkade’s East Coast Series of his Plein Air Collection.
  • Ellis Island was the port of entry for approximately 22 million immigrants who held the powerful promise of American freedom in their hearts. Neighboring the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island represents the beginning of a promising but unknowable future.
  • Thom felt inspired by the heroic stories of immigrant courage and adventure as he painted Ellis Island. Thom’s vision of this renowned location speaks to this island through the eyes of an immigrant – weary, wary, proud, and immensely hopeful.
Title Ellis Island
Published September 2003
Subject Location Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay, New York
Collection East Coast Collection I
Classification Plein Air Collection

Image Sizes

18" x 24"
25½" x 34"

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