Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2001.155
People
Sanford Robinson Gifford, American (Greenfield, NY 1823 - 1880 New York, NY)
Title
Sketchbook
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
sketchbook
Date
19th century
Culture
American
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/170369
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Sketchbook with green fabric covers
Dimensions
8.3 x 15.7 x 0.3 cm (3 1/4 x 6 3/16 x 1/8 in.)
Provenance
By descent through artist's family, 1880; Alice Carter Gifford, Cambridge, MA; bequeathed to her son Sanford Gifford, Cambridge, MA; his gift to the Harvard University Art Museums, 2001.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Sanford Gifford
Accession Year
2001
Object Number
2001.155
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Sketchbook with green-moiré-covered cardboard covers. Sewn page block, pages unbound. Ten pages of off-white laid paper, each 8.2 x 15.5 cm. One drawing, in graphite. Front pastedown has small mountain landscape drawn in graphite.
Archives of American Art reel 688 numbers this book SG1.
Commentary
Sanford Robinson Gifford is considered--along with artists such as Albert Bierstadt, Frederick E. Church, Worthington Whittredge and Martin Johnson Heade--to be one of the most important artists of the Hudson River School’s second generation. Gifford’s atmospheric landscapes can be distinguished from the work of his peers by his use of glowing color to suggest a veil of light placed over the scene. The Harvard Art Museum has in its collection one of the greatest of Gifford’s European landscapes, "Leander’s Tower on the Bosphorus," 1876 (1895.716).

The sketchbooks contain scenes from intermittent periods, ranging from the mid-1840s to 1874. The small book from the mid-1840s (just after Gifford’s education at Brown University from 1842-44) reflects his focus at that time on figurative studies. Those of the early 1850s depict his trips through Pennsylvania and New York, while several others date from the early 1860s, as Gifford was exploring the Hudson River landscape and northern New England. Two of the latter group contain several sketches of Gifford’s fellow artist Whittredge. An 1856-57 sketchbook documents part of Gifford’s travels in Italy, and includes sketches of Bierstadt, traveling with Gifford in Capri. In an 1861 sketchbook, Gifford--one of the few artists of his generation to serve during the Civil War--sketched portraits of his fellow soldiers in the Seventh Regiment of the New York State National Guard. Finally, the 1874 sketchbook dates from Gifford’s trip out to the West Coast.
Publication History

Ila Weiss, Poetic Landscape: The Art and Experience of Sanford R. Gifford, University of Delaware Press (Newark, DE, 1987), p. 332; front pastedown, p. 299

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2001-2002 (Cambridge, MA, 2003), p. 23

Exhibition History

Under Cover: Artists' Sketchbooks, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 08/01/2006 - 10/22/2006

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu