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Allan Edson

Giant Falls


Allan Edson
Stanbridge, Quebec, 1846 – Glen Sutton, Quebec, 1888


Giant Falls




Watercolour, gouache, gum arabic highlights


55.6 x 45.1 cm


Purchase, Dr. Francis J. Shepherd Bequest, inv. 1963.1434


Graphic Arts

When Edson painted Giant Falls in 1872, he was one of the most prominent landscape painters in Canada. The artist was a part of one of the major trends in Canadian painting of the second half of the nineteenth century, Luminism, following in a similar direction to the American landscape painters of the Hudson River School, who attached particular importance to the treatment of light. The waterfall in this watercolour of Edson’s divides the composition in two. While at the right, the foreground depicts vegetation in precise detail, the background disappears into a haze of aerial perspective. The artist evinces great skill in representing the mist from the falls, which veils the mountains silhouetted beyond, emphasizing their distance.

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