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This luminous view of the lagoons of Venice is one of several paintings and sketches of the subject, made by Gifford during and after a visit to Venice in 1869. He was a prominent landscapist of the Hudson River School, and an early “luminist” painter, exploring the evocative power of water, atmosphere and light in his paintings.

In his diary for May 29, 1884, Frederick Billings wrote “Lanthiers sent up Hayborn picture mending nets & I took the Venice of Gifford bought [by Lanthiers] at sale last night… Wish to get the house beautiful so as to enjoy it while I live.” L.A. Lanthier was a New York art dealer from whom Frederick and Julia Billings often purchased paintings and decorative objects.

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