Skip to main content

Main Building

A Coming Storm

1863, retouched and redated in 1880
Sanford Gifford, American, 1823-1880

Painted in the midst of the Civil War, Sanford Gifford's A Coming Storm was first owned by celebrated Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, brother of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. When the great American writer Herman Melville saw the painting at an exhibition in New York City just after Lincoln's death in April 1865, he was struck by the work's symbolism and wrote a poem about its tragic prescience that includes:


A demon-cloud like the mountain one
Burst on a spirit as mild
As this urned lake, the home of shades.


Gifford, who served in the Union Army himself, was keenly interested in the dramatic effects of weather and light, shown here along the banks of Lake George in upstate New York.

...

Object Details

We are always learning more about our collection and updating the website. Want to share your knowledge about this work with us? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.


Main Building