Sanford Robinson Gifford
American, 1823-1880

The Roman Campagna, 1859
Oil on canvas
Gift of Matthew Vassar
School: Hudson River
Period: 19th c
Classification: Painting
Dimensions: Unframed: 6 x 10 1/8 in. (15.24 x 25.72 cm)
Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings v
Signed and dated (LL): S R Gifford 54 (?)
Provenance v
Collections: Elias Magoon
Published References v
Vance, William and Mary and John McGuigan. America's Rome: Artists in the Eternal City, 1800-1900 (Cooperstown, NY: Fenimore Art Museum, 2009), p. 25; Mundy, James, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center: Vassar College The History and Collection (New York: Prestel Publishing, 2007), p. 74-75 repr.; All Season and Every Light, (Poughkeepsie: FLLAC, 1983), p. 57, repr.; America and the Grand Tour: Sanford Robinson Gifford at Home and Abroad, (Poughkeepsie: FLLAC, 1991)
Exhibition History v
Cooperstown, NY, Fenimore Museum of Art, "America's Rome: Artists in the Eternal City, 1800-1900," May 23-December 31, 2009 Poughkeepsie, New York, FLLAC, and Ithaca, New York, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, "A Focused Collection: The Hudson River School," April 21-October 19, 2007. Athens, Georgia, Georgia Museum of Art, "Classic Ground: Mid-Ninteenth-Century American Paintings and the Italian Encounter," October 23, 2004-February 2, 2005. Dallas, Texas, Dallas Museum of Art, "The Painted Sketch: American Impressions from Nature, 1830-1880," June 21- September 20, 1998. Poughkeepsie, NY, FLLAC, Vassar College, "America and the Grand Tour: Sanford Robinson Gifford at Home and Abroad," April 17 - June 9, 1991 Cooperstown, NY, Fenimore Art Museum, "America's Rome," May 23, 2009 - November 1, 2009 Poughkeepsie, NY, Vassar College Art Gallery, "All Seasons and Every Light" 14 Oct. - 16 Dec. 1983 Lincoln, MA, DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park, "All Seasons and Every Light" 5 Feb. - 25 March, 1984. West Palm Beach, FL, Norton Museum of Art, "All Seasons and Every Light" 25 March - 1 July 1984. Evanston, IL, Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, Northwestern University, "All Seasons and Every Light" 16 Nov. 1984 - 13 Jan. 1985. Poughkeepsie, NY, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, "Humanizing Landscapes: Geography, Culture and the Magoon Collection" 5 Oct. - 20 Dec. 2000. Cat. no.22, repr. p.6
Description v
Sanford Gifford was born and raised in upstate Hudson, New York. He briefly attended Brown University in Providence and moved to New York City in 1845. He studied and exhibited at the National Academy of Design. In spite of keeping his studio in New York, he managed to take extended annual sketching and painting trips to the scenic areas of the Hudson River Valley, the Catskill and Adirondack mountains, as well as to more distant locations such as the Maine and New Hampshire mountains. Yet, for all their dedica- tion to capturing the ‘sublime’ attributes of the American landscape, Gifford and almost all the key artists of the Hudson River School traveled to Europe at least once and participated in the Grand Tour. Many American as well as British and German artists gathered in loose colonies in Italy, particularly Florence and Rome. Sanford Gifford made two trips to Europe, the first from 1855–1857 and the second in 1868/69. From September 1856 to May 1857, Gifford was in Rome. This painting of the ruined aqueduct near the Appian Way outside of Rome was purchased by Elias Magoon, together with three other European oil sketches, in 1859, two years after Gifford’s return to America. It is likely that this and the others were small replicas of larger paintings the artist made based on sketches done at the site. A larger, more finished version of this painting was exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York in 1858.
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