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Frederick W. Lock

Niagara Falls


Frederick W. Lock
Active 1843-1863


Niagara Falls




Pastel, oil crayon


44.7 x 58.5 cm


Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1962.1377


Graphic Arts

Lock visited Niagara in the dead of winter, in late January and early February 1856. The drawing was executed entirely from life using cold-resistant materials such as charcoal and pastel in order to facilitate the meticulous attention to detail in Lock’s study of the place. The artist approached the falls with the eyes of an empirical observer rather than a tourist, scrutinizing the physical environment to provide a factually based depiction. The choice of vantage point enabled Lock to record the geological formation of the cave and to depict the reality of the atmosphere, examining the mists of the falls, which become icy stalactites that hang from and accumulate on the exposed rock face.

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