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Sanford Robinson Gifford (American, 1823-1880) Hudson River Marshes, A Study

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American & European Works of Art - 2817B
Date / Time :
May 29, 2015 4:00PM


Sanford Robinson Gifford (American, 1823-1880)

Hudson River Marshes, A Study
Unsigned, stamped "S.R. Gifford SALE" in red in a circular format on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 5 x 10 3/16 in. (12.7 x 25.9 cm), framed.
Condition: Scattered minor paint losses, minor surface grime.

Provenance: A private California collection.

N.B. This unsigned marsh view is surely related to Sanford Gifford's Marshes on the Hudson, (1878, private collection), included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibition Hudson River Visions in 2003. Writing in the exhibition catalogue, Dr. Franklin Kelly noted that the point of view is Piermont, New York, on the west shore of the Hudson River, looking to Hook Mountain, part of Nyack, New York, at the left.

The stamp on the reverse of the painting at hand appears to indicate it was part of the 1881 Gifford estate sale, and it is most likely one of two undated pictures referenced as "Hudson River Scenery" (5 x 9 1/2 in.) and "On the Hudson" (6 x 11 in.), respectively nos. 54 and 97 in the Friday, 15 April 1881 sale of the Catalogue of Valuable Oil Paintings . . . Sanford R. Gifford (New York: Thomas E. Kirby, 1881). The two works are also listed in the Memorial Catalogue of the Paintings of Sanford Robinson Gifford, N.A. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1881), p. 34, nos. 472, 473, titled respectively, "A Sketch of Hudson River Scenery" and "A Sketch on the Hudson." The discrepancy between the sizes given for those works and the painting at hand has been found to be common between the measurements listed in the catalogue and those of the originals.

The oil sketch at hand must be among the earliest studies prefiguring the 1878 painting (exhibited that year at the National Academy of Design) and has the hallmarks of a work done on site. An estimate for the date of execution would be 1876.

We would like to thank Dr. Kevin J. Avery, Senior Research Scholar, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, for his assistance with the research for this entry.
Estimate $8,000-12,000

The losses are minute areas to the sky and areas caused by the rabbet of the frame. The surface sems stable. The work would benefit from cleaning. Frame inscribed "845 EHV $15.00" top edge of the reverse.

There is a detached loan label from Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, with a prior attribution to Robert Swain Gifford. The discrepancy is addressed in a letter dated January 6, 1984, from Linda Muehlig to the former owner of the painting, discussing the R. S. Gifford Sale stamp on the reverse and noting that the work might have been painted by Sanford R. Gifford rather than R.S. Gifford. This letter accompanies the lot.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Sanford Robinson Gifford, Sanford Robinson Gifford N.A., Metropolitan Museum of Art's, Franklin Kelly, Nyack, Piermont, Hook Mountain, Hudson River, Thomas E. Kirby, Memorial Catalogue, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Academy of Design, Kevin J. Avery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Swain Gifford, Smith College Museum of Art, Massachusetts, Northampton, Smith College, Linda Muehlig