Niagara Gazette — When U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, announced last Thursday that Danish artist Ferdinand Richardt's 1856 oil painting of Niagara Falls would hang on the wall of the U.S. Capitol room where President Barack Obama and invited guests would gather for the traditional inaugural luncheon, it did not ignite the art and history world the same way that the revelation of the First Lady’s choice of gown for the Inaugural Ball fired up the fashion world, but it should have.
The painting, not the only depiction of our awesome environs to hang in Washington, D.C. actually says as much about the historical relevance of Niagara Falls as it says about its beauty.
Prominently displayed behind the head table in National Statuary Hall, where the luncheon was held Monday, allowing guests including President and Mrs. Obama, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden, Chairman and Mrs. Schumer, Senator and Mrs. Alexander, and Speaker of the House and Mrs. Boehner to get closer than they have probably been over the last four years, it was painted during the height of the Underground Railroad’s Western New York operations.
As Senator Schumer, a good friend of Niagara Falls and a powerful ally said in the announcement of his choice of the beautiful piece of art, “the painting embodies this year’s inaugural theme, “Faith in America’s Future”; it also reflects the Senator’s faith in Niagara’s future.
The Senator continued, “Showcasing Richardt’s oil painting of Niagara Falls during the inaugural luncheon shines a spotlight on one of New York’s most majestic attractions and will bring a wave of admiration for Western New York after the President’s historic swearing-in… President Obama, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the cabinet and all VIPs attending the Inauguration will get a chance to marvel at Western New York’s beauty immediately after the President takes his second oath of office.”