Asher B. Durand painted Kindred Spirits to memorialize his friend Thomas Cole and their beloved Catskill Mountains. In 2005 the painting sold for $35 million dollars to Walmart heiress Alice Walton.
What is the setting of the painting? Is it just an idealized composite, or an actual place? Landscape painter Scott Balfe sent me this picture of a place he discovered in a remote section of Kaaterskill Clove.
The picture shows Shelf-Rock at the Five Cascades under Haines Falls. “Bit of a hike to get down there,” he says. The rock sticks out 10-12 feet. “I know Durand must have seen that spot,” Scott told me.
“You can see South Mountain and Kaaterskill High Peak in the distance today, which resemble the shapes of the mountain forms in Kindred Spirits. I’m sure Durand’s painting was a composite, but once you’ve been down there, the impression is a strong and lasting one.”
I paint a portrait of Scott in a downpour
Painting a sheep farm with Scott