“The Falls of St. Anthony” by Albert Bierstadt
“The Falls of St. Anthony” by Albert Bierstadt depicts the falls as they appeared before any human intervention and the introduction of the spillway. The natural falls were replaced by a concrete overflow spillway in 1869.
The composition shows in its foreground several Native Americans and a hatted figure with a walking stick speculated to be Louis Hennepin, discoverer of the falls.
Father Louis Hennepin (1626 – 1704) was a Belgian Roman Catholic priest and missionary of the Franciscan Recollet order and an explorer of North America’s interior.
The Falls of Saint Anthony is northeast of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are the only natural major waterfall on the Upper Mississippi River. In the 1950s and 1960s, a series of locks and dams were constructed to extend navigation upstream.
The falls are named after the Catholic Saint Anthony of Padua. The towns of St. Anthony and Minneapolis, which had developed on the east and west sides of the falls, merged in 1872 to fully use the falls’ power for milling operations.
From 1880 to about 1930, Minneapolis was the “Flour Milling Capital of the World.”
Today, the falls area is designated the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and features a 1.8-mile (2.9 km) self-guided walking trail.
Hudson River School
The Hudson River School was a mid-1880s American art movement embodied by landscape painters influenced by Romanticism.
The paintings typically depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the Catskill, Adirondack, and White Mountains.
Works by the second generation of artists associated with the school expanded to include other locales in New England, the Maritimes, the American West, and South America.
Hudson River School paintings reflect the themes of discovery, exploration, and settlement in America of the 19th century.
They depicted the American landscape as a pastoral setting, where human beings and nature coexist peacefully.
Landscapes were characterized by their realistic but idealized portrayal of nature and wilderness, which was fast disappearing.
The Falls of St. Anthony
- Title: The Falls of St. Anthony
- Artist: Albert Bierstadt
- Year: 1880 and 1887
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions Height: 96.8 cm (38.1 in); Width: 153.7 cm (60.5 in)
- Movement: Hudson River School
- Category: American Artist
- Museum: Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
Albert Bierstadt’s “The Falls of St. Anthony”
Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902) was a painter of sweeping landscapes of the American West. He joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion to paint the scenes.
Bierstadt was born in Prussia, but his family moved to the United States when he was 1. He returned to Europe to study painting for several years in Düsseldorf.
He became part of the second generation of the Hudson River School in New York, an informal group of like-minded painters who started painting along the Hudson River.
Bierstadt was a critical interpreter of the western landscape, and he is also grouped with the Rocky Mountain School.
- Artist: Albert Bierstadt
- Born: 1830, Solingen, Rhine Province, Prussia
- Died: 1902 (aged 72), New York City
- Nationality: German American
- Notable works:
Albert Bierstadt’s Lavish Landscapes of The American West
History of St. Anthony
“The best material for the artist in the world.”
– Albert Bierstadt
Photo Credit: 1) By Wikipedia; Albert Bierstadt / Public domain