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Sanford Robinson Gifford papers, 1840s-1900

Gifford, Sanford Robinson, 1823-1880


The papers of Sanford Robinson Gifford in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 850 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Collection Information

Size: 0.9 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of landscape painter Sanford Robinson Gifford, date from the 1840s through 1900, and circa 1960s-1970s. The bulk of the papers fall between 1855-1881; material from the circa 1960s-1970s consists of photographic copy prints for which the Archives does not have the originals. The small collection measures 0.9 linear feet of scattered documentation of Gifford's life, primarily extensive biographical accounts of his travels in the mid 1850s and late 1860s in the form of bound letters to his father. These serve as detailed journals of his impressions of Europe and the Middle East, the development of his painting, and his relationships with other artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Worthington Whittredge. The collection also contains sketches by Gifford, printed material including catalogs of Gifford's paintings, and photographs of Gifford and others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Sanford Robinson Gifford was born in Greenfield, New York, in 1823. He attended Brown University from 1842-1844 and moved to New York City in 1845 where he studied drawing, perspective and anatomy under the direction of the British watercolorist and drawing-master, John R. Smith. He also studied the human figure in anatomy classes at the Crosby Street Medical college and took drawing classes at the National Academy of Design. In 1846 he visited the Berkshire Hills and the Catskill Mountains, sketching from nature. "These studies," he wrote to O. B. Frothingham in 1874, "together with the great admiration I felt for the works of Cole developed a strong interest in landscape art, and opened my eyes to a keener perception and more intelligent enjoyment of nature. Having once enjoyed the absolute freedom of the landscape painters life I was unable to return to portrait painting."


Edith Wilkinson first donated the Sanford Robinson Gifford papers in 1955 and 1957. James C. Gifford donated copy prints of photographs in 1964. Five sketchbooks were lent for microfilming by the Vassar College Art Library in 1966 and George and Frances Gifford Cummings donated additional material in 1973. In 1974, sixteen sketchbooks, photographs, and other materials were lent for microfilming by Dr. Sanford Gifford, Gifford's great-nephew.

Related Materials

Language Note

English .


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art