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Albert Bierstadt Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)
Bierstadt was born and later educated in Germany, and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts. As one of America’s foremost landscape painters he was responsible for shaping a vision of America as the new Eden. His monumental canvases were based upon sketches and photographs he made in 1859, when he accompanied the federally sponsored Lander Survey to the Rocky Mountains.
Oregon Trail
Lander's Peak
Merced River
Yosemite
Mirror Lake
Lake Lucerne
Bridal Veil Falls

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Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite, c. 1871-73
Oil on canvas, 36 1/8 x 26 3/8 in. (91.7 x 67.0 cm.)
North Carolina Museum of Art

German-born Albert Bierstadt gave definitive expression to America’s westward expansionism in the 1860s and 70s. His vast panoramas of the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains introduced Americans to a majestic wilderness, awesome but unthreatening, and well worth possessing.

The artist found his greatest subject in California's Yosemite Valley, which he first visited in the summer of 1863. So spectacular was the remote and secluded valley that early visitors readily imagined it the Promised Land. Bierstadt's many paintings of Yosemite, such as this view of Bridal Veil Falls, are indeed biblical in their grandeur, imbued with the sense that divinity dwells within the wilderness. Ironically, the popularity of Bierstadt's paintings attracted droves of tourists to Yosemite, compelling the artist to look elsewhere for untrammeled scenery.
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