A second-generation Hudson River School painter, Sanford Robinson Gifford was an ardent painter of nature and landscapes, finding many influences but avoiding affiliation with artist groups or schools lest it “ursurp the place of nature” in importance. He began his training in New York City as a portrait painter, but quickly realized his passion for landscapes through his admiration for painter Thomas Cole. Gifford spent much of his subsequent time touring widely and developing his mature style. He was deeply impressed by the painters of the French Barbizon School, as well as J.M.W. Turner. Gifford’s fame mounted during the Civil War, as he painted during his service as a national guardsman. A founding member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gifford was honored with the museum’s first single-artist retrospective after his death.