SOLD The Catskill Mountain House

by Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823–1880)
Oil on canvas
6⅛ x 11⅛ inches
Estate stamp on verso




Estate of the artist

(Probably) Richard Butler, acquired from above, 1881

Private collection, Washington, DC, by 1987

Adams-Davidson Galleries, Washington, DC

Private collection, Bethesda, Maryland, acquired from above, 1989


(Probably) Catalogue of Valuable Oil Paintings, Works of the Famous Artist, Sanford R. Gifford, N. A. Deceased (New York: Thos E. Kirby and Co., 1881), 32, no. 68 (as A View near the Catskill Mountain House).

(Probably) John F. Weir, A Memorial Catalogue of the Paintings of Sanford Robinson Gifford, N.A. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1881), 34, no. 481 (as A View Near the Catskill Mountain House).

Ila Weiss, Poetic Landscape: The Art and Experience of Sanford R. Gifford (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 1987), 232–33 (as A View Near the Catskill Mountain House).

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), 144.

Related Works 

The Catskill Mountain House, 1862, oil on canvas, 9⅛ x 18½ inches, signed and dated lower left: S R Gifford ’62; Private collection

Sketchbook: New Hampshire, N.Y., 1865­­–66 (2 drawings), graphite on paper, 5¾ x 8 13/16 inches; The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York

Note: In his memorial address, fellow painter Worthington Whittredge (1820–1910) spoke of Gifford’s connection to the Catskills: “As an artist he was born in the Catskill Mountains,...[his favorite part] was the summit, or the region round about the Mountain House. Upon the edges of the cliffs of North and South mountains, overlooking the great plain and the Hudson River, how often his feet have stood! The very lichens there remember him.”[1]

The popularity of the Mountain House was expanded greatly by stagecoach line owner Charles L. Beach, who assumed control of the Mountain House in 1839 and full ownership in 1846. At that time, he began renovations on the hotel and created more hiking trails on the surrounding North and South Mountain terrain (which he also owned), which attracted visitors and artists. Beach also published a guidebook to the Mountain House and the area around it, with excerpts from poet William Cullen Bryant and from several travel writers of the era.[2] Unsurprisingly, the locale became a popular, and awe-inspiring destination. The tourist culture also helped to generate patrons for the Hudson River School artists.[3] Gifford was among the first to paint the views from these new paths.[4] His sketchbooks from 1861-62 and 1865-66 contain studies of the Mountain House.

[1] Nicolai Cikovsky Jr., Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823–1800) (Austin: University of Texas, 1970), 25. [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), 31. [3] Kevin J. Avery, Sanford R. Gifford: In the Catskills (Catskill, NY: Thomas Cole National Historic Site, 2017), 19. [4] Avery and Kelly, Hudson River School Visions: The Landscapes of Sanford R. Gifford, 35-36.

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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