Frederic Church

Frederic Edwin Church

Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900), Cole’s prized pupil from 1844 to 1846, took on grand, heroic subject matter. While the artist returned to the Hudson River Valley over the course of his career, he undertook numerous expeditions around the world, and preferred scientific subject matter over the historical and literary conceits favored by fellow artists such as his teacher Cole. Church studied with his mentor in Cole’s Catskill, New York studio and accompanied him on sketching sojourns in the Catskill Mountains and the Berkshires. After establishing his reputation with large scale paintings that depicted the awesome natural wonders of North America, including the monumental Niagara Falls, Church was inspired to travel to South America by the travel accounts and scientific treatises of the German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859). Church visited Columbia in 1853 and Ecuador in 1857; he also traveled to the Arctic in 1859 and to the Old World from 1867 to 1869, focusing primarily on Holy Land sites.


Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900) Niagara, 1857
Oil on canvas, 40 x 90½ inches
Collection Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund, 76.15