The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane

The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane (1858) is a painting by American artist John Quidor, depicting a scene from Washington Irving's 1820 short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".

The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane
Man on horse being pursued by headless man on horse.
ArtistJohn Quidor
Year1858 (1858)
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions68.3 cm × 86 cm (26.9 in × 34 in)
LocationSmithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

The schoolmaster Ichabod Crane is fleeing on a white horse, pursued by the Headless Horseman on a black horse. In one hand, the Headless Horseman is holding a pumpkin, which he is preparing to throw at Crane. Visible in the background is the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow and the adjacent Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and the full moon.

The painting is one of several by the artist based on scenes from Irving's written works about Dutch New York, including such paintings as Ichabod Crane Flying from the Headless Horseman (1828, Yale University Art Gallery) and The Return of Rip Van Winkle (1849, National Gallery of Art).[1][2]

Quidor first exhibited the picture at the National Academy of Design in New York City.[3] The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. bought the painting in 1994, but it was removed from display in 2021.[4]


  1. ^ Caldwell, John; Rodriguez Roque, Oswaldo (1994). Kathleen Luhrs (ed.). American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. I: a Catalogue of Works by Artists Born By 1815. Dale T. Johnson, Carrie Rebora, Patricia R. Windels. Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press. pp. 479–482.
  2. ^ Roger Panetta, ed. (2009). Dutch New York: the roots of Hudson Valley culture. Hudson River Museum. pp. 223–235. ISBN 978-0-8232-3039-6.
  3. ^ The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. Oxford University Press. 2011. pp. 216–217. ISBN 9780195335798.
  4. ^ "The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 2013-06-13.

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