Quarry, Evening

Daniel Garber, American, 1880 - 1958


Oil on canvas

50 × 60 inches (127 × 152.4 cm)

© Estate of Daniel Garber

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1921

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Daniel Garber was inspired by the beauty of the Delaware River Valley, particularly the countryside around his home near the artist’s colony of New Hope, Pennsylvania. This composition is the largest in Garber’s acclaimed series of paintings depicting the massive gravel quarries on the New Jersey side of the river. The artist’s dazzling tonalities transform rugged hillsides, disfigured by modern industry, into sun-drenched visions. For Garber, the landscape forms reflecting and capturing the light of the setting sun gave a sense of atmosphere and space while also serving to create a satisfyingly abstract and modern pattern of bands on the canvas.

Additional information:
  • PublicationTwentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    Quarry, Evening is a majestic portrayal of the landscape along the Delaware River near the town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, an important artists' colony during the first half of the twentieth century. Garber was one of its leading figures, having settled in the nearby village of Lumberville in 1907. A native of Indiana, Garber came to Philadelphia in 1899 to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he maintained a lifelong affiliation that evolved from pupil to professor. He spent the winters in Philadelphia, but the Delaware River Valley north of the city provided the heart and soul of his painting.

    The New Hope artists have often been called the Pennsylvania Impressionists. Indeed, Garber had encountered the Parisians' work firsthand during his travels in Europe and shared their fascination for the fleeting effects of light. Quarry, Evening records a moment when the setting sun casts its glow across the upper ledges of the cliffs, leaving the ridge of trees above in deep purple shadow. Painting from direct observation outdoors, Garber faithfully captured the reflections of the cliffs in the water and the subtleties of the foliage glimmering in the dusk. However, the order and precision of Garber's approach differ distinctly from the Impressionists interest in the accidental moment; his ideal of a sublime nature bears closer affinities to the tradition of the great nineteenth-century American landscape painters. Garber's desire to portray the glory of nature is reflected in his decision to paint the imposing quarry, a dramatic exception to the intimately scaled Delaware River landscape. The picture is nearly devoid of human presence, save for the tiny figures at work in the field. Their insignificance, like that of the small buildings in the middle distance, magnifies the awe-inspiring grandeur of the towering landscape beyond. Twentieth Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2000), p. 36.