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  • Writer's pictureDoug Foster

Seeing Gifford's Hudson

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

What is wonderful about getting out on the Hudson River, besides the beauty and joy of being on the water, is seeing history and the subject of great art.

Sanford Robinson Gifford probably painted more views of the Hudson River than any of his colleagues in the Hudson River School.

He painted at least two paintings of the “Tappan Zee,” the widest part of the the Hudson River, where Nyack sits.

Hook Mountain, near Nyack, on the Hudson (1866)

Photo of Hook Mountain, Nyack and the bridge
Photo from anchor spot, south of Croton Point (2021-06-02)

This painting’s perspective is from the south shore of Croton Point, looking Southwest toward Hook Mountain, and Nyack further south/left.

We often go to this location, just off-shore, particularly when there is a north wind. It gives excellent protection from what ends up being 2-4 foot rollers. In this painting, everything is calm and serene.

When Gifford painted this, Hook Mountain was being actively mined, the scars we still see. It took the resources of John D. Rockefeller, who lived across the river with the Hook as his view, to purchase the mountain and close down the mining operation.

I took the picture of the Hook while on a powerboat charter, just south of Croton Point. The same perspective, but obviously Gifford didn’t have a bridge in the background.

An Indian Summer’s Day On The Hudson Tappan Zee (1868)

I’m not sure exactly where the painting so situated, but I think Tarrytown, looking Northwest toward Hook Mountain. Today we might be right under the bridge.

This is a beautiful painting, with calm waters like his Hook Mountain painting from two years earlier. This painting is more abstract.

The drone photo is looking the same direction, obviously situated a little higher than the painting, but this is the view looking north. I never get tired of the Hook, from morning to evening light, close or at a distance.

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