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Frederic Edwin Church (May 4, 1826 - April 7, 1900) was an American landscape painter born in Hartford, Connecticut. He was a central figure in the Hudson River School of American landscape painters. While committed to the natural sciences, he was "always concerned with including a spiritual dimension in his works". The family wealth came from Church's father, Joseph Church, a silversmith and watchmaker in Hartford, Connecticut.(Joseph subsequently also became an official and a director of The Aetna Life Insurance Company) Joseph, in turn, was the son of Samuel Church, who founded the first paper mill in Lee, Massachusetts in the Berkshires, and this allowed him (Frederic) to pursue his interest in art from a very early age. At eighteen years of age, Church became the pupil of Thomas Cole in Catskill, New York after Daniel Wadsworth, a family neighbor and founder of the Wadsworth Atheneum, introduced the two.