Elihu Vedder, a native New Yorker, lived in Italy for most of his career as part of a large group of American expatriate artists in late 19th-century Rome. A sensuous colorist and creator of brooding, melancholic images, Vedder often defies easy stylistic categorization. He showed an early interest in visionary and allegorical subjects of ancient history and mythology, yet also delighted in the depiction of pure landscape.
Vedder spent his summers making intimate oil sketches of scenes in Perugia, Lake Trasimeno and other Italian locales. Though he valued the direct observation of painting en plein air (in the open air/outdoors), he also used his imagination to alter compositions to suit his personal artistic vision. For the most part Vedder's landscapes are small and the focus is on overall luminous effect, not intricate details. Throughout his career, Vedder devotedly painted landscapes, though he increasingly returned to figural subjects for his major works.
The contents of Vedder's Roman studio remained in his daughter Anita's hands until the 1950s. She bequeathed a large number of these to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which distributed them to museums across the United States, including the Hudson River Museum.