The Great Horseshoe Fall, Niagara

Media - 1966.82.1 - SAAM-1966.82.1_1 - 2413
Copied Alvan Fisher, The Great Horseshoe Fall, Niagara, 1820, oil on canvas, 34 3848 in. (87.2122.0 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1966.82.1
Free to use

Artwork Details

The Great Horseshoe Fall, Niagara
34 3848 in. (87.2122.0 cm.)
stretcher upper left in pencil: B-19#3 stretcher upper right in pencil: #75 frame verso in white chalk: Kennedy On2 (?) frame verso upper left and lower right in paint: 1966.82.1
Credit Line
Museum purchase
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Figure group
  • Landscape
  • Landscape — phenomenon — rainbow
  • Landscape — waterfall — Niagara Falls
  • Landscape — Canada — Niagara Falls
  • Landscape — waterfall — Horseshoe Falls
Object Number

Artwork Description

Two scenes by Fisher (this painting and Fisher's A General View of the Falls of Niagara) capture the thrill of visiting Niagara Falls, a site in upstate New York that quickly became a symbol of the continent's epic scale and natural beauty. Tiny figures throw out their arms as if trying to describe to one another the vastness of what they see. Elegant tourists peer decorously across the chasm through opera glasses, while one young lady covers her ears against the stupendous noise. Reckless young men lie on their stomachs, daring one another to draw closer to the rock's edge.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006