R. SWAIN GIFFORD (American / 1840-1905)

The painter and etcher Robert Swain Gifford was influenced by the Barbizon School of French pre-Impressionists. Gifford was born on Naushon Island off Cape Cod in 1840, but when he was very young his family moved to New Bedford, Massachussetts. Showing an early talent for art, he studied under the Dutch marine painter Albert van Beest, then resident in New Bedford. Working as R. Swain Gifford, he achieved an international reputation for his oils, watercolors, and etchings. He was a member of numerous distinguished artistic societies, notably - in terms of his printmaking - of the New York Etching Club and the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers. An etching by R. Swain Gifford was printed at the very first meeting of the New York Etching Club on 2 May 1877, as a demonstration of the technique. Despite travels to England, France, Spain, Italy, and perhaps most importantly North Africa and the Sahara Desert, R. Swain Gifford remains best known for his studies of his native New England. Our etching "Coal-Pockets at New Bedford", for instance, was one of many local studies produced in months when Gifford retreated from the city to his summer residence in Nonquitt, six miles from his childhood home of New Bedford. The critic Sylvester Rose Koehler wrote of R. Swain Gifford's etchings that, "He has learned to a high degree the art of saying much with little, and therefore makes every line tell."

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Selected prints by R. SWAIN GIFFORD

The Mouth of the
Apponigansett, 1883
Coal-Pockets at New
Bedford, Mass., 1879
Summer Storm, 1879

View all available prints by R. SWAIN GIFFORD