Advanced Search

View of High Falls, Trenton, New York

On view

View of High Falls, Trenton, New York

Artist: Daniel Wadsworth Coit (American, 1787 - 1876)

Date: 1833
Medium: Graphite on cream-colored woven paper
Overall: 8 3/8 x 10in. (21.3 x 25.4cm)
Signed: verso, upper left in graphite: 'Trenton Falls sketch by D.W. Coit 1833' verso, lower right in graphite: '66' recto, upper left in graphite: 'renton Falls'
Credit Line: Gift of Virginia and Christopher Kelly
Object number: 98.17
Label Text
Trenton Falls is located several miles north of Utica in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. During the 19th century it was a popular destination for artists traveling east or west along the Erie Canal between the Hudson River and Niagara Falls. However, the experience of seeing Trenton Falls was not like Niagara where the sublimity of the site was comprehendible at a moment's glance. Rather, Trenton's picturesque sequence of cascades, cataracts and rapids--each different in scale, configuration and character--only revealed itself for those willing to hike along the banks of the West Canada Creek as it passed through the Trenton Falls gorge. Today, because the water of the West Canada Creek at Trenton Falls have been harnessed by a hydroelectric plant, many of the cascades that contributed to the charm of this site are submerged under an artificial lake, and the few cataracts that were not inundated are generally closed to the public.

Coit's drawing depicts Trenton High Falls from a point on the west side of the West Canada Creek just below the main cascade. Coit was a successful businessman and talented amateur artist who traveled extensively. He was acquainted with numerous artists including the American landscape painter, Thomas Cole (1801-48). Coit documented his international travels in journals, letters and sketches such as this one.

December 2005