“Niagara Falls” by Frederic Edwin Church epically depicts thundering water deflecting crystalline segments of light. In the 19th century, Americans considered Niagara Falls to be the New World’s most impressive scenic wonder, symbolizing their nation’s strength and vitality. They sought proof of their equality to the Old World, and believed the spectacular Falls rivaled or surpassed any of Europe’s scenery. This painting, which displays the breathtaking grandeur of Niagara Falls, established Church (1826 – 1900) as the principal interpreter of America’s spirit.
Frederic Edwin Church (1826 – 1900) painted magnificently lit, panoramic landscapes expressing nature’s grandeur. An American artist from the Hudson River School, he was the first pupil of the renowned Thomas Cole. Scientifically approaching his art, Church sketched outdoors before painting the final canvas. Principally painting North America’s natural scenery, he also created dramatic images from his travels to South America and Europe. Church’s work emanated a clarity and a brilliant rendering of light called Luminism. Olana, his house on the Hudson River, is now a museum.