About this artwork

Church's large canvas captures magnificently the drama of Niagara Falls, one of his country's most famous landmarks. This painting, based on a drawing Church made at Niagra in July 1856 and on a sepia photograph touched with colour, was commissioned by the New York art dealer Michael Knoedler in 1866. It may originally have been destined for the Universal Exhibition in Paris, as Church was selected to represent America there. It was bought in 1887 by John S. Kennedy who presented it to his native Scotland. It is the only major example of Church's work in a European public collection.

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Frederic Edwin Church

Frederic Edwin Church

Church's spectacular landscapes of North and South America, Europe and the Middle East combined dramatic compositions with remarkable light effects. He studied with the landscape painter Thomas Cole and was inspired by his example to depict stirring subjects celebrating the sublime in nature. He settled with his family in Hudson, New York state, on a farm with magnificent views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. Church was the youngest artist to be elected to the National Academy of Design in 1849 and became the central figure of a landscape painters' group known as the 'Hudson River School'.