The thirteenth release in the distinguished Masterpieces of Canadian Art series features Cornelius Krieghoff's landscape, The Artist at Niagara. Canada Post unveils this masterpiece on July 7, 2000, with the Official First Day Cover to be cancelled in Toronto. A dramatic rendering of one of the most impressive natural wonders of the world, The Artist at Niagara will be an international-rate issue available in a 16-stamp pane.
In the Eye of the Beholder
The Artist at Niagara, 1858 captures the nineteenth-century reverence for the grandeur of Niagara Falls - innocent of its twentieth-century evolution into a source of hydroelectric power. The "artist" of the title is the small figure sketching in the foreground, as seen on the OFDC.
Like the identity of the artist figure in the painting, the exact details of the life of Cornelius Krieghoff are elusive. He was born in Amsterdam and came to North America in his late teens or early twenties, settling in Montreal around 1846. The last two decades of his life were spent in Quebec City, Europe and Chicago.
Today, the impact of Krieghoff's work is being debated. However, according to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils… the splendour of our waterfalls, and the hardships and daily life of people living on the edges of new frontiers."
An Artistic Legacy
Designed by Pierre-Yves Pelletier, who has also worked on the previous stamps in the Masterpieces series, this stamp is framed with platinum foil and printed in five-colour lithography. It is another striking addition to this series which underlines the artistry both of Canada's artists and of its philatelic designers.