32¢ Frederick Edwin Church
Four Centuries of American Art
Issue Date: August 27, 1998
City: Santa Clara, CA
Printed By: Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
An American painter known for his huge, dramatic landscapes, Frederick Edwin Church (1826-1900) traveled the world searching for subjects. Among the regions he visited were the Andes Mountains of South America, the wilderness of Ecuador, the forests of Jamaica, and the icebergs near Newfoundland, Canada.
Hartford, Connecticut was Church’s hometown. At the age of 18, he began studying with the famous American landscape artist Thomas Cole. After Cole’s death in 1848, Church stepped in to fill his mentor’s place. His paintings of the late 1840s and early 1850s established the artist as a developing master.
One of Church’s most famous works is Niagara. Nothing in America had been painted and described more often than Niagara Falls. Church’s version of the Canadian side of the falls eclipsed all earlier images. Twice as wide as it is high, the painting provides a panoramic effect. Niagara was an instant success in the United States, and crowds flocked to see it. It also toured in England, drawing audiences just as large.
By 1860, only three years after completing Niagara, Church had hit the peak of his career. From then on, he suffered from rheumatism of the hands, and his artistic skills began to decline.