Sanford Robinson Gifford (American, 1823–1880)
Oil on canvas
48 x 79 7/8 in. (121.9 x 101.3 cm)
Bequest of Maria DeWitt Jesup, from the collection of her husband, Morris K. Jesup, 1914 (15.30.62)
A Gorge in the Mountains is the first major representative of a series of upright paintings of Kauterskill Clove in the eastern Catskill Mountains that Gifford executed right up to the year of his death in 1880. Before him, Thomas Cole and other artists had emphasized the sublime, or fearsome, aspect of the storied locale. Gifford, in emulation of the English master J. M. W. Turner, introduced dazzling sunlight and gauzy atmosphere that seem to hollow out the clove to echo the sun's circular shape, transforming the vale into a realm suspended between reality and reverie.