John George Brown, On the Hudson, 1867
Oil on canvas, 39 x 72 in. (99.1 x 182.9 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, 1979.7.19
This painting depicts the New Jersey side of the Hudson River north of New York City, where it is flanked by high stone cliffs known as the Palisades. The busy waterway is full of pleasure craft bringing visitors to the many tourist hotels, hiking trails, and picnic areas along the river. Travel writer Nathaniel Parker Willis humorously described such a journey: "With most persons, to mention the Palisades is to recall only the confusion of a steamer's deck, just off from the wharf, with a freight of seven or eight hundred souls hoping to “take tea” in Albany. The scene is one of inextricable confusion, and it is not till the twenty miles of the Palisades are well passed, that the bewildered passenger knows rightly whether his wife, child, or baggage, whichever may be his tender care, is not being left behind at the rate of fifteen miles in the hour." (Nathaniel Parker Willis, The Palisades—Hudson River, in American Scenery, London: George Virtue, 1836)
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