The focal point of this painting, 2751-foot-high Mount Tamalpais, is a landmark of the San Francisco Bay area. Located just north of the San Francisco in Marin County, it was a popular outdoor resort spot in the late nineteenth century. It served artist William Keith as a frequent subject over many years.
The panoramic view of sunlit knolls on the left – where a tiny hunter has been placed to establish scale – comes strongly forward from the shadowed hill of the middle ground, while the distant valley and mountain, their colors paled and contours softened by a moist atmosphere, seem miles away. Recession is intensified by contrasts of color and paint texture. The foreground is rich with touches of many hues and painted solidly with rugged strokes, while thin, blended paint creates an opalescent effect in the far hills, which are silhouetted against a luminous sky. Through masterful gradations of color and light, Keith conveys his own heightened experience of nature.