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A General View of the Falls of Niagara

1820 Alvan Fisher Born: Needham, Massachusetts 1792 Died: Dedham, Massachusetts 1863 oil on canvas 34 3/8 x 48 1/8 in. (87.2 x 122.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1967.85 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, South Wing


Gallery Label

This scene by Alvan Fisher conveys the magnificent beauty of Niagara Falls, which quickly became an icon for the new nation.  Tiny figures stand at the rim of the cataract, their gestures expressing awe and delight in the grandeur of the scene before them.  Lacking a lengthy, cultured past, Americans looked to the grandeur of the landscape to reflect the scale of the new country’s ambitions.  Just as the Seven Wonders of the World had given Europeans a sense of pride in their past, Niagara Falls and other natural wonders became symbols of America’s identity. 

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian

Figure group

Landscape - Canada - Niagara Falls

Landscape - waterfall - Niagara Falls

Landscape - weather - cloud

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Alvan Fisher

Born: Needham, Massachusetts 1792 Died: Dedham, Massachusetts 1863

More works in the collection by
Alvan Fisher