Site #3 Kaaterskill Clove (From the Molly Smith Parking Lot, Rte 23A)
Introduction by Kevin J. Avery, Senior Research Scholar, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The clove, a distinctive feature or "cleft" in the Catskills, was one of the places most painted by the Hudson River School artists. The rugged terrain of the clove was created by glacial action and the erosive forces of the streams that cut into its depths and cascade down its sides. Palenville, at the foot of the clove, became America's first art colony.
Thomas Cole painted the clove from the top of Haines Falls, Asher Durand from nearby Santa Cruz Falls, and Sanford Gifford from near Poet's Ledge. Their paintings helped Americans form a sense of national identity. Here was a quality of nature wild, sublime, and distinctly different from anything known in Europe. The clove was of such importance to these painters that Durand chose it as the setting for the painting Kindred Spirits, his tribute to Thomas Cole with poet William Cullen Bryant. The area today is largely as it was in the 19th century due to its inclusion in the Catskill Forest Preserve.
"The peculiar fidelity and sentiment of nature with which Durand always depicts trees, is eloquently manifest. The aerial perspective, the gradations of light, the tints of foliage, the slope of the mountains – in a word, the whole scenic expression is harmonious, grand, tender and true." Henry T. Tuckerman, Book of the Artists; American Artist Life, 1867
Plan Your Trip
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Meets most ADA standards and has few barriers. Some visitors with disabilities may need some assistance
Open all seasons
Map & Directions
Driving Directions: We recommend Google Map . Site coordinates: 42.184711 Lat., -74.074028 Long.
Location Notes: From Trail Site 3, turn right on Route 9W South; proceed 1.3 miles west to where Route 9W turns south. Leave Route 9W and proceed straight ahead onto Route 23A. Continue eight miles to Palenville, an early artists' community. Continue another 3-1/2 miles on Route 23A, climbing through historic Kaaterskill Clove, past Bastion Falls to the trail access parking area on the left side of the road. A view of the Clove is available through a clearing in the trees on the south side of the parking lot.
Photography / Painting Credits
Asher B. Durand, Kaaterskill Clove, 1866, oil on canvas, 38 ¼ x 60 in. The Century Association, New York, NY.
Francis Driscoll, Kaaterskill Clove, undated, photograph, 6 x 6 ¾ in. Private Collection.
Thomas Cole, The Clove, Catskills, 1827, oil on canvas, 25 ¼ x 35 1/8 in. New Britain Museum of American Art. Charles F. Smith Fund, 1945.22.
Daniel Case, Kaaterskill Clove, 2011, photograph, Courtesy of Daniel Case and the Wikimedia Commons.
Asher B. Durand, Kindred Spirits, 1849, oil on canvas, 44 x 36 in. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR.
Harriet Cany Peale, Kaaterskill Clove, 1858, oil on canvas, 36 x 25 in. Private Collection.