On Sunday, September 18, Historic Hudson presents a lecture on the work of Hudson River School painter Sanford Robinson Gifford by Alexander Nemerov, the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University. The lecture takes place at 2:00 p.m. at Stair Galleries, 549 Warren Street in Hudson.
Gifford is one of the Hudson River School painters with strong ties to the City
of Hudson. His family moved here from Saratoga County in 1823, when Sanford was
only a few months old. He grew up here and maintained his connection to Hudson
throughout his life. He is buried in the Hudson City Cemetery.
family came to Hudson in 1823, Sanford’s father, Elihu Gifford, purchased an
interest in Hudson’s only iron foundry. In 1856, he renamed the foundry E.
Gifford & Sons. It was a business that brought wealth to the family and
sustained it for several generations.
|Sanford Gifford, A Gorge in the Mountains (Kauterskill Clove), 1862. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of Maria DeWitt Jessup, from the collection of her husband, Morris K. Jessup, 1914.
Gifford’s landscape paintings are perhaps the most beautiful of all Hudson
River School landscapes. Most notably, he was famed for his portrayal of
distance. Far horizons—hazy, luminous, otherworldly—were his special
fascination. In his lecture, entitled “Faith, Pain, and the Faraway in Sanford
Gifford’s Landscape Paintings,” Alexander Nemerov will explore Gifford’s faith
in the faraway in light of his close relationship with his troubled older brother,
Charles. Charles Gifford committed suicide in 1861, at the outbreak of the
is the author of Soulmaker: The Times of Lewis Hine (2016), Summoning
Pearl Harbor (2017), and most recently Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler
and 1950s New York, which was published by Penguin in 2021 and was
short-listed for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography. He
is currently completing his next book, The Forest: A Fable of America in the
1830s, to be published by Princeton University Press. The book is based on
the Andrew W. Mellon Lectures Nemerov presented at the National Gallery in
|Photo: Bob Richman