Autumn Scenery with Stream 

(22. Octbr. 1879)

Thorvald Simon Niss (b. 1842 - d. 1905)

While many artists date their work with the year next to their signature, Autumn Scenery with Stream places a specific day on the canvas, October 22, 1879.  Although we don't know, one can imagine that Thorvald Niss grabbed his easel and paints on this Wednesday in fall and headed to the forest to capture the scene, likely completing the painting in a single day.  On close view, one sees the long and quick brushstrokes that fill the background.   Then, the detailed branches of the barren trees fill in the forefront.  As with most Niss paintings, a pathway, here a small stream, draws the viewer's eyes down the path of the tree-lined creek. 

From a historic perspective, while Thorvald Niss was completing this painting on the banks of this creek in Denmark, on October 22, 1879, Thomas Edison staged his first successful test of an electric light bulb with a carbon filament at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, USA.  Just six years later, the Waupaca Electric Light Association incorporated bringing electric lighting to Waupaca.  When built in 1894, the news of the day was that in the new Danes Hall "the lighting throughout would be by electricity."