I would agree that color is sometimes regarded by the "Art" community as calendar art and black and white is the truer art. But, I find the buying public still approves of color with their wallets. In my home I support both.
What I have found is that color prints have to be big and large to make an impact. Poster size. I don't agree with this but this is what I found from other photographers. BW can come in all sizes. I had one gallery person tell me this, "Color needs to be large to sell. The larger the better". I disagree and have always made my color prints small and intimate. My prints come in size from 4x5 to 11x14. I rather have someone hold my print close then have to see it from a hallway away. But I diverse.
Cole was making a place for himself on two fronts. First, being the son and brother of two great photographers and second being the only color photographer amid all the rest of the Monterey/West coast photographers. Most if not all doing black and white photography. Talking about being the only port in a storm. I guess Cole had Eliott Porter to look to. But not many others. Today we have many more but Cole was a quiet leader in the field of color photography.