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The Sky Pond

1933-1934 Paul Kauvar Smith Born: Cape Girardeau, Missouri 1893 Died: Denver, Colorado 1977 oil on canvas 42 x 50 1/8 in. (106.8 x 127.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor 1964.1.59 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

This stunning Colorado view is one that hikers in Rocky Mountain National Park can see to this day. Artist Paul Kauvar Smith portrayed the brown rocks of the central mountain, Taylor Peak, as red as if they were illuminated by a sunset. However, the sky seen above the mountain and reflected in Sky Pond is the brilliant blue of midday. The snows of Taylor Glacier glow blue-white between the rugged boulders, showing how cold it is in the high Rockies even when the slopes are clad in summer greenery. Smith's sun-drenched colors and grand mountain scenery evoked a wild paradise all too distant for those caught in the gritty urban poverty of Depression-era America.

Smith probably encountered the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program for young men, as he explored the Colorado Rockies in search of picturesque landscapes. By spring 1933 the CCC was at work in Rocky Mountain National Park, building the trails and roads that visitors would travel to experience remote wilderness spots like Taylor Peak and Sky Pond for themselves.

1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label


Landscape - lake

Landscape - mountain

Landscape - phenomenon - glacier

Landscape - weather - snow

New Deal - Public Works of Art Project - Colorado


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Paul Kauvar Smith

Born: Cape Girardeau, Missouri 1893 Died: Denver, Colorado 1977