The American Lake Scene was completed four years before Thomas Cole's death and can now be seen in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Thomas Cole was able to apply color in a clever way to portray the natural setting of the scene which captures beauty calmness and tranquility. An art critic of the time said that the painting looked like "the earth before God breathed on it". The painting measures 18 1/4 × 24 1/2 inches (unframed) and 27 1/8 × 33× 4 inches (framed).

Cole's character and delightful personality can be seen in the American lake Scene painting. He had a great visual sensibility transferring the noble realities of life on canvas beautifully to be forever seen by generations to come. A glance at the American Lake Scene shows you a great deal of character and beauty as perceived and portrayed by Thomas Cole. From his work in not only the American Lake Scene but all his landscape paintings, it is clear how highly Thomas Cole regarded nature. It is thus right that we preserve the beauty f the countryside ensure that we do not destroy all this beauty in the name of industrialization leaving the coming generations with nothing.

Thomas Cole was a member of the American landscape artists of the Hudson River school. He believed that a landscape was enough to tell a whole story, it did not have to be the background of a painting for the story to be complete. The natural world is thought to represent peace and tranquility as portrayed by this painting of the American Lake Scene. Thomas was born in England, Bolton Lancashire but he is referred to as an American painter and artist.

Thomas Cole started his career with portraiture; however, he did not achieve much success in his portraits and thus switched to landscape painting. He made his breakthrough in landscape art when he sold his landscape painting to George Bruen a prominent financial and business figure in New York at the time. George was greatly impressed by Thomas Cole's work and thus decided to fund him to go to the Hudson River and paint more paintings of nature. Thomas Cole went to Hudson River where he formed his group of landscape artists, the American Hudson landscape artists. He worked on his paintings including the American Lake Scene, in his studio in Cedar Grove Catskill town, New York. After his death, his studio became Thomas Cole House and was declared a national historic site and opened to the public. The fourth highest peak on the Catskill Mountain Range was also named Thomas Cole in his honor.