In this landscape, Dunning beautifully captures the surreal kaleidoscope of color that is a Fall River sunset, the sky ablaze with reds and yellows in that brief prelude to the gloaming time. As the sun prepares to dip below the horizon, it casts a fiery reflection on the calm waters of the Taunton River, its surface dotted with commercial and pleasure craft. In this romantic pastoral setting, a fashionably dressed couple walks a path toward the shore, through hilly fields bordered by fences of split rails and rustic stone walls.
The nineteenth century was the golden age of landscape painting in Europe and America; Dunning embraced this movement and produced beautifully rendered pastoral scenes of exceptional quality, yet they are often overlooked – and inevitably overshadowed – by his still life compositions. During his career, the artist traveled extensively throughout New England and the White Mountains of New Hampshire in search of inspiration for his landscape paintings.
In this rare Fall River view, set in the then rural southern portion of the city, the artist depicts an idyllic, tranquil scene within walking distance from his Fall River studio.