Frederic E. Church
1826 - 1900

Through his long, successful artistic career, Frederic Church devoted himself to the representation of the natural world, especially North and South America. From his teacher, Thomas Cole, Church learned how to transform the careful rendering of waterfalls and mountains into images full of national sentiment. By 1848, Church had joined New York's art community, and his work centered on the landscape of the Hudson River Valley and New England. But in 1853, he and Cyrus Field traveled to South America, to follow in the footsteps of German explorer Alexander von Humboldt. He returned with many oil sketches which he used to compose large, spectacular canvases. Contemporary critics viewed Church's mature work, such as "Heart of the Andes," as allegories on the virtue of the New World, similar to the well known "Washington Crossing the Delaware," with which it appeared at the Metropolitan Sanitary Fair in 1864. After the death of his children in 1875, Church began to travel to the Middle East, where he found inspiration for his art, and for the decoration of his mansion, Olana, overlooking the Hudson River. Brady included this portrait in a special special "Artist's Souvenir," along with images of Rembrandt Peale, William Page, and Charles Loring Elliott.

Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print
(carte de visite), ca. 1864
7.5 cm x 4.6 cm (2 15/16 x 1 13/16 inches)
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.