Rocky Mountain Highway

Cheney--Rocky Mountain Highway.jpg
CheneyPhilip - Rocky Mountain Highway.JPG

Dublin Core



It's likely that Cheney's painting depicts the Virginia Canyon Road near Idaho Springs, Colorado, also known as the "Oh My God Highway" for its hairpin turns and precipitous cliffs. It had been created in the 1800s to access dozens of gold mines in the area; three of those mine shafts (and their tailings) can be seen in an idealized red. Mountains emerge in the distance, creating the perspective of a viewer standing upon a hill overlooking the landscape. The addition of roads throughout the mountain dates to a time when transportation was becoming a vital part of American society.

The painting’s impressionist style and proper use of perspective illuminate the artist’s academic training. If one looks closely, one may see the brush strokes used to paint in a muddled yet meticulous way. The style of painting may have easily been influenced by the previous impressionist movement in Europe. Cheney's use of greens and his ability to paint shadows gives viewers a truly natural and realistic portrayal of a mountainous landscape.

About the Artist: Born in Brookline, MA, Cheney attended Harvard University, where he trained with the Harvard ROTC. During 1918-19 he enlisted as a pilot specializing in aerial navigation, a background that seems to have influenced his art’s sometimes creative vantage points. Most of Cheney’s work was in lithography, often of western landscapes. He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, City Art Museum of St. Louis, National Academy of Design, Los Angeles Museum, Paris Salon, and the Society of Independent Artists. In 1940 his lithograph “Winter Afternoon” was chosen to represent Vermont in the traveling exhibit “Contemporary Art of the United States,” which included contributions by artists Grant Wood, Georgia O’Keefe and N. C. Wyeth. 10 works at the National Gallery of Art. 7 works at Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 1 work at Detroit Institute of Arts. 1 work at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. 2 more images at FAP.


Cheney, Philip Loring, 1897-1992








Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Oil painting

Physical Dimensions

23.5 x 19.5 in.
Condition: paint slightly chipped