The Sky Pond

  • Paul Kauvar Smith, The Sky Pond, 1933-1934, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1964.1.59

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

The Sky Pond
On View
Not on view.
42 x 50 1/8 in. (106.8 x 127.4 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor

  • Landscape – phenomenon – glacier
  • Landscape – rocks
  • Landscape – weather – snow
  • Landscape – lake
  • Landscape – mountain
  • New Deal – Public Works of Art Project – Colorado
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI