Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kindred Spirits Location?

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


Christopher said...

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jeff jordan said...

Looks like it's on the other side.

James Gurney said...

Jeff, yes, it's facing east and downriver, where the Durand is clearly facing west, upriver. There are some other projecting rock features in Kaaterskill Clove, a few miles south. Where Scott took the picture is a bit hard to traverse, due to steep walls, big rocks, and heavy current.

I agree with Scott that Durand and all his contemporaries would have explored all around these cloves, and I assume that some of these rock features have stayed the same for a hundred years or so, but who knows?

goat89 said...

^Thats indeed a viable possibility... but thats an interesting environment to paint! Thx for the post Mr Gurney.

Unknown said...

I have to guess that like most Hudson River Painters, the painting is an idealized version of reality, so it could very well be that spot.

ps - I just did a painting with your color masking technique. It was tough to do, but I learned a lot and got a very harmonious result. Thanks!

My Pen Name said...

Jacob Collins or one of the those Hudson River Fellowship folks aught to have some idea where it is, no?