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The Puff of Smoke

A work made of oil on canvas.

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Gifford Beal
American, 1879–1956

About this artwork

In The Puff of Smoke, Gifford Beal portrayed a view of the Hudson River at Newburgh, New York, concentrating on the scene’s urban elements. Several utility poles frame the panorama, while the titular puff of smoke billows up from below eye level. Although Beal did not depict the source of the steam, it is probably from a passing train connecting Newburgh with the major metropolitan areas of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The artist employed a cool, silvery palette to describe the crisp atmosphere of this cold day. He applied the paint with brisk, fluid brushwork, especially in the billowing cloud, which he rendered with a tactile, white impasto.


On View, Gallery 272


Arts of the Americas


Gifford Beal


The Puff of Smoke


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed and dated lower left: Gifford Beal 12


92.1 × 122.6 cm (36 1/4 × 48 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Friends of American Art Collection

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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