In 2003, after three decades of speculation by Gifford scholar Ila Weiss, conservator David Goist discovered Gifford’s signature as well as the date “1862” when performing a routine treatment on the painting. Goist noted in his preliminary examination report that there appeared to be writing just under the surface near the Cropsey signature. As he removed the top layer of yellowed varnish, the overpaint hiding Gifford’s signature and date came away as well. With this evidence in hand, the Museum formally reattributed the painting to Gifford as his long-lost canvas, Indian Summer in the White Mountains.
The Museum decided to leave the Cropsey signature and date on the painting, as they have become part of its history and do not detract from its overall aesthetic.