Sanford Robinson Gifford was a leading light of the Hudson River School and a noted practitioner of what would later be called Luminism. Born in Greenfield, New York, Gifford studied at Brown University and the National Academy of Design. He was already a successful landscape painter when the Civil War erupted, and a number of canvases produced during the conflict bear witness to his service. His works from the following years, with their hazy atmospheric effects, helped define the Luminist style. He traveled extensively, and documented his journeys with small, virtuosic oil sketches and drawings. A wandering and inquisitive spirit, Gifford traveled steadily through Europe and the Middle East. His journeys kept pace with Frederic Church, perhaps America’s most celebrated traveler-explorer-painter, but unlike Church, Gifford also took time to paint in the American West. Having survived the Civil War and travels to some of the remotest parts of the world, Gifford died of malaria in New York in 1880.