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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0179

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[no photo] [Mountain of the Holy Cross 2]

Medium: oil (on canvas?)
Size: 22 x 36 in (56 x 91 cm)
Provenance: With Witherspoon Art Gallery and Frame Shop, Lafayette, California, in 1973.
Reproductions: Early California and Western Art Research/Schafer slide #14 (color, 1974)
Citations: Inventory of American Paintings… record 61140105; Trenton, Patricia and Peter H. Hassrick, The Rocky Mountains, pages 155 and 358 (footnote 175).
Attribution: The source of the attribution to Schafer is unknown. No signature is reported, and none is visible in the photograph.
Site: The east face of the Mount of the Holy Cross, as it appears from atop Notch Mountain, but viewed through a much lower valley. The Mount is in the North Sawatch range of the Rocky Mountains, located directly west of Denver, and south of Vail, Colorado.
Description: The peak of the mountain is viewed up the valley of a white water river which flows from the center directly toward the viewer between large boulders past a snag. The cross lies on the front left side of the peak. The left bank of the river is rocky, then forested, then becomes a slope rising high to the left. Two decorated white tepees with three figures in colorful robes stand on the right bank. Behind are a large and small brown tree, then green forest; a mountain peak is seen far to the right, behind the forest. (From a color photograph.)
Note: Trenton, Patricia and Peter H. Hassrick, The Rocky Mountains suggests that the painting may have been done without visiting the site. The view of the mountain is remarkably similar to a well-known 1873 photograph by William Henry Jackson [Cock, Elizabeth M., The Influence of Photography on American Landscape Painting, 1839–1880, pages 148-150, plates 5-57; Trenton and Hassrick page 170, plate 60], taken from atop Notch Mountain, and the hill on the left side of the valley bears a surprising resemblence to the corresponding hillside in a widely-circulated chromolithograph of an 1875 painting by Thomas Moran, which itself may have benefited from the Jackson photograph [text:cock]. The composite suffers from the juxtaposition of two views from rather different altitudes.
Identification: Assigned, descriptive title, based on similarity with the titled Mountain of the Holy Cross [1]. Witherspoon Galleries reported the painting to the Inventory of American Paintings in 1973, with the alternate title. The Early California and Western Art Research index identifies the slide with the offering at the Witherspoon Galleries and gives the size as approx 24 x 40 in. In their comment about the composite and derivative nature of this painting, Trenton and Hassrick mistakenly cite Mountain of the Holy Cross [1] rather than this painting.
Other title(s): Mount Holy Cross (Witherspoon Art Gallery and Frame Shop)
In index(es): Title list, Indian encampments as incidental subjects, miscellaneous other well-known landmarks

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Mar 10, 2024, 11:47 MDT Accessibility