WAM Featured Artist of the Week: Louisa Davis Minot

Louisa Davis Minot (May 10, 1788 – January 21, 1858) is one of the featured artists in our latest exhibit The Poetry of Nature: Hudson River School Landscapes from the New-York Historical Society.  

Although the beginnings of the Hudson River School are usually traced back to the fall of 1825, when Durand, John Trumbull and others came across a Thomas Cole landscape in New York, signs indicate that there were others before Cole’s time. Seven years prior to Durand and company’s discovery, Louisa Davis Minot painted a pair of stunning Niagara Falls canvases. In fact, these two works of art were the only known paintings ascribed to her name.

Louisa Davis Minot, Niagara Falls, 1818
New-York Historical Society, New York City

The life story of Louisa Davis Minot is one that is still shrouded in some form of mystery. For example, we still are unsure how Minot acquired her artistic training. What we do know is that the exquisite attention to detail in the Niagara Falls paintings suggest that they are not her first nor only works. Beyond the sheer artistic talent of the canvases themselves, Louisa Minot was impressive for taking on a subject that truly captured the realistic intensity of emotions of Niagara Falls.

Just imagine how close you would have to be to capture an image of Niagara Falls on your smartphone. Now imagine having to sit for hours, without barriers or protection, and having to paint that same type of image. Needless to say, Louisa Minot’s notable works are worth not glancing over. Although Louisa was an impressive painting talent, she produced collections of essays, journals and other writings as well.

Louisa also captured the sights, sounds and overall culture of living near the Niagara River through her journalistic style of writing. More is still to be explored on Louisa Davis Minot, but for now we can at least appreciate the artistry behind these sophisticated canvases.

*For more information on Louisa Davis Minot or history of The Hudson River School, click here.


Manthorne, Katherine E. “Hudson River.” Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center. Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.