“There is no such picture of wild, reckless abandonment to its own impulses, as the fierce, frolicsome march of a gigantic wave," Church wrote after observing the sea off Mt. Desert, Maine. The artist traveled to this wilderness site at least seven times in the 1850s and 60s, and the Atheneum's painting, perhaps his finest seascape, is based on an oil sketch done on the spot.
In their exuberant depictions of untamed natural scenery, Church and his fellow landscape painters helped to create the popularity of Mt. Desert and similar natural wonders as vacation resorts for subsequent generations of Americans.
Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826-1900)
Coast Scene, Mount Desert (Sunrise off the Maine Coast), 1863
Oil on canvas, 36 1/8 x 48 in.
Bequest of Mrs. Clara Hinton Gould, 1948.178
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
16 x 24 print has an image size of 13 3/8 x 17 5/8 in.