Gifford visited Isola Bella on Lago Maggiore, Italy, in 1856 and again twelve years later, painting the site numerous times and refining his vision of the scene. In late July 1868, the artist spent several days in the region, recording of one of them: “It was a perfect day, not too hot. I have come to the conclusion that this part of Maggiore is the finest of all the Italian Lakes.” In this painting, based on an oil sketch “of a sunset on Lake Maggiore,” Gifford extended the width on both sides to include the profiles of mountains distributed along the water, with the filmy light of sunset between them.
Signature: [at lower right]: S.R. Gifford 187; [on the back]: Lago Maggiore / S.R. Gifford pinxit 1871
Marking: [stamped on canvas on the back]: GOUPIL & CO [badly faded]
William B. Northrup, New York, by 1881; Charles A. Fowler, Hopewell Junction, New York, by 1921