About this artwork
The grandeur of Niagara Falls inspired 19th-century artists to celebrate the sublime power of the American landscape. Thomas Cole, the patriarch of the Hudson River School of painting, was already well known for his scenes of untamed wilderness when he completed Distant View of Niagara Falls in 1830. The potency of Cole’s image lies in its depiction of unspoiled nature. The work bears little resemblance to the terrain surrounding the falls, which was marked by factories, scenic overlooks, and hotels that accommodated the multitude of tourists who visited every year. Cole placed two Native American figures at center to emphasize the North American setting, further romanticizing this view of a resplendent wilderness that at the time faced real threats wrought by industrialization and conquest.
- Thomas Cole
- Distant View of Niagara Falls
- United States
- Oil on panel
- Signed, lower right: "Thomas Cole / 1830"
- 47.9 × 60.6 cm (18 7/8 × 23 7/8 in.)
- Friends of American Art Collection