Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GIFFORD, Robert Swain, artist, born in Naushon, Massachusetts, 23 December 1840. He studied under Albert Van Beest, the Dutch marine painter, opened a studio in Boston in 1864, and resided there till he settled permanently in New York, in 1866. He was elected an associate of the National academy in 1867, and an academician in 1878. He made an extensive sketching tour in Oregon and California in 1869, and furnished views in these states to "Picturesque America" (1872-'3). He went to Europe in 1870, spent 1874 in Algiers and the Great Desert, and in 1875 made a sketching tour in Brittany and southern France. He has been a member of the American society of painters in watercolors since its organization in 1866, is a member of the New York etching club, the British society of painter-etchers, the Artist's fund society, and the Society of American artists. He is best known through his pictures of oriental life. Among his oil-painting, s are" Scene at Manchester, Cape Ann" (1867); "Mount Hood" (1870); " Halting for Water" and " Passenger Boats on the Nile" (1874)" "The Rossetti Garden" (1875) ; "The Mosque of Mahommed Ali," which was awarded a medal at the Centennial (1876)" " The Borders of the Desert," " New England Cedars" (1877)" "Salt Boats at Dartmouth," exhibited at the Paris salon (1878). His "Deserted Whaler," in the water-color exhibition (1867), excited much favorable comment. Other water-colors by his hand are " Day on the Sea-Shore" (1869)" "Block House at Eastport" (1874)" "Venetian Companions" (1876); " The Oasis of Filiach, Algeria" (1877). His recent works include "Nonquitt Cliff" (1882); "New Zaanda-am" (1883)" "The Shores of Buzzard Bay," and "Near the Coast," for which he was awarded $2,500 in the First prize fund exhibition of the American art association (1885)" and "Autumn in New England" (1886).--His wife, Frances Eliot, artist, born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1844, received her art education at the Cooper institute, New York City, and under Samuel Gerry, in Boston. She has made a specialty of painting birds with landscapes, and has contributed illustrations to the magazines.
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