Kaaterskill Clove (1866) by Asher Durand

Kaaterskill Clove - Asher Durand - 1866

Artwork Information

TitleKaaterskill Clove
ArtistAsher Durand
Dimensions38 1/4 x 60 in (97.2 x 152.4 cm)
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationThe Century Association, New York City

About Kaaterskill Clove

Asher Durand’s “Kaaterskill Clove” is a quintessential example of Romanticism in landscape painting. Created in 1866, this oil artwork reflects the movement’s emphasis on emotion and the grandeur of nature. Its considerable size—38 1/4 x 60 inches (97.2 x 152.4 cm)—facilitates the feeling of immersion into the natural scene. The artwork is currently housed at The Century Association in New York City, suggesting its recognized value and historical significance.

The artwork presents a breathtaking view of Kaaterskill Clove, a deep mountainous ravine in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The vantage point appears to be from a high ledge or cliffside, overlooking the lush valley below. Dominating the left of the composition stands a tall, weathered pine tree, which frames the scene and draws the viewer’s eye towards the expansive vista. This gnarled tree, showing signs of struggle and resilience, symbolizes the Romantic preoccupation with the age and power of nature.

In the middle distance, the mountain slopes are rich with a variety of trees, indicating a dense, untrammeled forest. The atmospheric perspective is skillfully employed, with the colors becoming more muted and the details hazier as the distance from the viewer increases, suggesting the vastness and the mystery of the landscape.

Below, the clove itself is bathed in sunlight, contrasting with the darker, shadowy areas of the scene. This interplay of light and darkness enhances the dramatic effect typical of the Romantic style, eliciting a sense of the sublime—awe mixed with a touch of fear—in the viewer. The background is completed with a pale sky, possibly indicating early morning or late afternoon light, contributing to the mood of quiet reflection.

Every brushstroke in “Kaaterskill Clove” works in harmony to evoke an emotional response, an admiration for the natural world, and a contemplation of man’s small place within it—a hallmark of Durand’s artistry and the Romantic movement as a whole.

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