Sunset Over the Shawangunks

by Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823–1880)
Oil on canvas
8½ x 14⅞ inches
Estate stamp on verso



(Possibly) F. S. Sarm, by 1881

Private collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Private collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by descent from above

Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York, acquired from above, 2013

Private collection, New York, New York, acquired from above, 2013

Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York, acquired from above, 2014

Private collection, Bethesda, Maryland, acquired from above, 2015


(Possibly) Catalogue of Valuable Oil Paintings, Works of the Famous Artist, Sanford R. Gifford, N. A. Deceased (New York: Thos E. Kirby and Co., 1881), 17, no. 69 (as Traps, Shawangunk Mountains).

Related Works

From the Shawangunk Mountains, oil on canvas on panel, 3⅛ x 5⅜ inches; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

Indians at Campfire–Moon Rising, oil on paper laid down on canvas, 4¾ x 10⅛ inches; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

Sunset in the Shawangunk Mountains, 1854, oil on canvas; The Warner Collection, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Shawangunk Mountains, 1861(?), graphite on paper, 5 9/16 x 9 inches, inscribed lower left: Shawangunk Mts; Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Shawangunk Mountains, 1864, oil on canvas, 9 x 16 inches, signed and dated lower left: S R Gifford 1864; Collection of Cheryl and Blair Effron, New York, New York

View of the Trapps, Shawangunk Mountains, 1864, graphite on paper, 3⅛ x 4 15/16 inches; Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sketchbook: Shawangunk Mountains, N.Y.: Mt. Katadin and Lake Millinocket, Me., 1873­­–79, graphite on paper, 4½ x 8½ inches; The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York

Note: Gifford visited the Shawangunk Mountains as early as 1850.[1] Known for their rugged, dramatic beauty, the Shawangunk Mountains attracted tourists from New York City, some of whom were excited to visit the tavern at Lake Mohonk that opened in 1859. For both artists and travelers, the scenery was magnificent, with its “enormous masses of granite” and thickets of “laurel and evergreen trees,” as well as incredible views of the rivers and valleys surrounding it. Among several oil versions the artist explored, a larger work of the site was included on Gifford’s list of “chief pictures” and exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1865.[2]

[1] Kevin J. Avery, Sanford R. Gifford: In the Catskills (Catskill, NY: Thomas Cole National Historic Site, 2017), 27. [2] Kevin J. Avery and Franklin Kelly, eds., Hudson River School Visions: The Landscapes of Sanford R. Gifford (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003), 164.

Artist Biography

Prominent Luminist Hudson River School painter

By Amy Spencer

Defining the salient characteristics of the second-generation Hudson River School, Sanford R. Gifford’s luminist style effectively evoked both the subtle and dramatic effects epitomized by landscape painting in nineteenth-century America.

I. Biography
II. Chronology
III. Collections
IV. Exhibitions
V. Memberships
VI. Notes
VII. Suggested Resources

I. Biography

The second-generation Hudson River School painter Sanford Robinson Gifford was a master at depicting light and atmosphere in landscapes. As the only painter among his contemporaries to be born and grow up

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