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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

Viewer

Valley of the Yosemite, 1864
Oil on paperboard
11 7/8 x 19 1/4 in. (30.2 x 48.9 cm)
Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
 
The unspoiled grandeur of the West was an endless source of fascination for armchair travelers in the eastern United States. Bierstadt, a canny businessman as well as a gifted painter, made several trips to the West. Back in his New York studio, he used the oil sketches and photographs from these journeys to create hundreds of paintings that range from the tiny to the gargantuan. These images celebrate the West’s natural splendors, many of which would soon be altered forever by railroads, settlers, and tourists. The emotional charge that Americans found in the Western landscape was conveyed by Bierstadt’s companion on a trip to the recently discovered Yosemite Valley in 1864: “Far to the westward, widening more and more, it opens into the bosom of great mountain ranges,—into a field of perfect light, misty by its own excess,—into an unspeakable suffusion of glory created from the phoenix-pile of the dying sun.”

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