Niagara Gazette

January 17, 2013

Falls painting figures into inaugural plans

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — An oil painting of Niagara Falls will be prominently displayed during President Barack Obama's inaugural luncheon.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, announced Thursday that Danish artist Ferdinand Richardt's 1856 oil painting of Niagara Falls will hang on the wall of the U.S. Capitol room where Obama and his special guests will gather for the inaugural luncheon. 

The painting will be displayed in National Statuary Hall, where the luncheon will be held Monday, immediately behind the head table. Guests at the head table will include 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.

Schumer said the painting embodies this year’s inaugural theme, “Faith in America’s Future,” as the Falls represents a longstanding attraction that is a symbol of timeless beauty and the power of America’s natural resources. 

“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,” said Schumer. “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.”

The painting, called simply "Niagara Falls," provides a panoramic view of the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara, capturing the sweep of the river. The depiction of the river creates an oval effect, further defined by the dark shoreline and clouds that has been compared to viewing the scene through a lens. In the foreground, the Maid-of-the-Mist can be seen navigating the rapids. Completed at a time when America’s history as an independent nation was not yet a century old, it depicts the American and Canadian falls as they looked in 1856.

“It is a tremendous honor to have Niagara Falls featured so prominently in the inauguration of President Barack Obama” said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. “I want to thank Senator Schumer for selecting this painting and picking our region for this honor. Niagara Falls truly is a national treasure and this painting by Ferdinand Richardt captures its beauty and elegance."