Gift of Mary M. Lane, 2000
Grandiose, romantic, and breathtakingly beautiful, Kaaterskill Clove was the kind of landscape that was immensely popular with nineteenth-century Americans. Celebrating the United States as a land with limitless potential for growth and unique beauty, the painting shows man dwarfed by nature. The size and shape of the canvas recall a church window; here, nature is man’s church.
Located in the Catskill Mountains, just east of Palenville, New York, Kaaterskill Clove is an expansive mountain ravine filled with lush forests and dramatic waterfalls, the largest of which—Kaaterskill—is higher than Niagara Falls. Great American writers, including James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, Herman Melville, and Mark Twain, have considered Kaaterskill Clove one of the most beautiful locations in the world. It was also the subject of several paintings by Thomas Cole, who founded the Hudson River School.
In his lifetime, Lewis was one of the most popular and prolific artists in Philadelphia, as well as a renowned collector of art. His views Pennsylvania’s rivers and New Jersey’s shore were especially favored.