About the Artist
Like his teacher, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900) conveyed a sense of awesome sublimity in his landscapes by celebrating the seemingly infinite wonders of the natural world. The artist devoted a great deal of time to scientific study, believing that a knowledge of optics, meteorology, botany, and ecology would greatly enhance his work. After reading the journalistic accounts of the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, Church explored wilderness regions from the arctic to the equator.
This poster is a reproduction of Frederic Edwin Church's Niagara. Church's majestic canvas reveals the vista from the Canadian shore and is based on oil and pencil sketches he made during several visits to the site in 1856. He was the first to render the spectacle on such a grand scale and with such fine detail, naturalism, and immediacy. He heightened the realism of his painting by selecting a non-traditional format of canvas with a width twice as wide as its height to convey the panoramic expanse of the scene. Moreover, he pushed the plane of the falls nearest the viewer significantly downward to reveal more of the far side as well as the dramatic rush of water. Most notably, he eliminated any suggestion of a foreground, allowing the viewer to experience the scene as if precariously positioned on the brink of the falls. As one writer enthusiastically noted, "This is Niagara, with the roar left out!"
Niagara's tremendous success both in the United States and abroad secured Frederic Edwin Church's reputation as the most famous American painter of his time. The acquisition of Niagara by the young Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1876 secured the institution's reputation and inspired other major artists to seek representation in the collection.
- 38 x 20 inches (poster), 38.37 x 20.37 inches (frame)
- Gold metal frame, plexiglass, attached hanging wire