Niagara Falls, 1856
by Ferdinand Richardt
Oil on canvas, 1856
Courtesy of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington DC.
Niagara Falls, a painting by Ferdinand Richardt, is a panoramic view of the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara, capturing the sweep of the river.
In the foreground, the sidewheeler Maid-of-the-Mist can be seen navigating the rapids. Completed at a time when America's history as an independent nation was not yet a century old, Richardt's painting symbolized to Americans of that era the grandeur, power, and possibility of America.
A Danish artist, Richardt (1819-1895) came to America in 1855. He is best known for his depictions of Niagara Falls and composed this painting in 1856 as the seventeenth in a series. The New York Evening Post proclaimed it to be one of the most accurate views of Niagara Falls ever exhibited. The painting, displayed above the head table, was loaned by the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.