This day thread is dedicated to the golden light, warm colors, and crisp, cool air of October, the most beautiful month of the year. My favorite autumnal painting celebrating the beauty of this month is October in the Catskills (1880) by the 19th century American landscape painter Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880), one of the major artists of the Hudson River School. This painting, completed shortly before Gifford’s death from malarial fever, serves as a perfect end to an artistic career dedicated to the painstaking representation of light and atmospheric effects.
The setting of the painting is Kauterskill Clove, one of Gifford’s favorite locations, with a view west towards Haine’s Falls. One of his previous paintings, A Gorge in the Mountains (Kauterskill Clove) (1862), has a nearly identical view, though it was painted in spring or summer.
October in the Catskills is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I first saw it as a little girl, and even though I grew up in LA, a city not known for its dramatic seasonal changes, this seemed to me a perfect representation of how October feels.