Albert Bierstadt, born in Germany in January 1830, emigrated to America when he was two years old with his parents. He was raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and became a renowned Western artist. The Acclaimed historical painter Albert Bierstadt was one of America’s top Western landscape painters.
The spectacular paintings of Bierstadt encouraged to travel to the American West and may have persuaded Congress to designate Yosemite as a national park. In addition, Bierstadt was a founding member of the Boone and Crockett Club, the first organization in North America devoted to protecting and maintaining animals and natural lands.
Albert Biersdtadt’s Work Inspiration
Bierstadt was undoubtedly influenced by the prevailing ideologies of the day, and those who commissioned and bought his work impacted his aesthetic decisions. Nevertheless, he formed his own opinions about the West. Throughout Albert Bierstadt artwork, Bierstadt drew inspiration from the environment, scenery, and Native Americans.
Discovering American Landscapes
He first concentrated on making landscapes inspired by European themes, but in 1859 he traveled west, sketching and drawing vistas that would serve as the inspiration for other works in the future. He visited the Platte River and Wind River Mountains, drawing the stunning landscape and the locals that lived there.
Albert Bierstadt continued and reached the Rockies, where the scenery brought to mind the European Alps and the light of Italy. The young artist was so fired up that he proclaimed, “Our nation provides the greatest material for the artist in the world.” The base of the Rocky Mountains was his first significant work from this time period, but it is now gone (c.1860). The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York houses his 1863 rendition, The Rocky Mountains.
When Bierstadt’s Rocky Mountains was displayed at the 1864 New York Sanitary Fair next to a piece by the well-regarded landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), renown in cosmopolitan New York started to grow. It prompted the art critic James Jackson Jarves to claim that Bierstadt’s picture presented an unparalleled representation of American light. After that, Bierstadt’s career was followed by a decade of success.
Most Famous Albert Bierstadt’s Landscape Paintings
Albert Bierstadt painted portraits from numerous Westward Expansion trips. For the remainder of the nineteenth century, he remained the most active painter of the places while not being the first to record them.
Valley of the Yosemite
One of Bierstadt’s most well-known works of art is a depiction of Yosemite’s beautiful valley, where the Merced River flows softly through a portion encircled by enormous granite rock walls.
When settlers and other people started building homes in the area in 1864, the painting Valley of the Yosemite was finished. Bierstadt’s depiction of the famous valley gives the viewer peace and majesty.
However, the Yosemite region is one of the most challenging and untamed wilderness locations on the North American continent. The artist skillfully captured how the light moved over the river and the mountains on each side. The tall hills surrounding the Merced River’s sides may be seen in the distance as the sun casts its brilliance over them.
The Last of the Buffalo
The buffalo has represented Native American life and culture throughout history. Several Native American tribes in western North America relied heavily on buffalo to survive the frequently harsh winters on the western plains.
When Native Americans were being forced off their lands and to live on small reservations in harsh regions of the United States, Bierstadt is regarded as one of the most significant artists to have created works that were culturally and historically pertinent to the situation. Albert Bierstadt artwork, The Last of the Buffalo, is arguably the most well-known Native American work ever created since it has a great deal of symbolism and meaning as well as a direct portrayal of how western expansion was causing havoc on Native people.
The painting measures six by 10 feet and shows a vast border covered in buffalo. In this artwork, many buffalo meander over the grasslands in search of a serene river; unfortunately, one of these animals is fighting with a group of tribal hunters. A Native American hunter on a white horse is desperately trying to spear a buffalo when it charges him.
Bierstadt created this painting in 1888, a year in which the buffalo were all but extinct. His artwork represents the last breathtaking example of Native American culture, which appeared to be disappearing along with the buffalo.
The Rocky Mountains, Lander’s Peak
Albert Bierstadt’s work on landscape oil painting “The Rocky Mountains, Lander’s Peak” depicts the Rocky Mountains. It is based on sketches made by Bierstadt while traveling with Frederick W. Lander as part of the Honey Road Survey Party in 1859. In the foreground, a Native American encampment, Lander’s Peak, is visible in the Wind River Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Heart of the Andes by Frederic Edwin Church has been compared to it and is also on display with it.
The painting shows Lander’s Peak, a mountain that rises 10,456 feet above sea level and is currently in Wyoming. Bierstadt’s picture resonated with modern Americans because it captured the majesty and untainted beauty of the country’s western wilderness. In addition, it alluded to Manifest Destiny, in which the Rocky Mountains were seen as both a source of scenic beauty and a hindrance to westward advancement.
Albert Bierstadt, a German-American painter, is renowned for his expansive landscape paintings of the Western American wilderness. He photographed wild animals, lakes, glaciers, and gorgeous areas throughout the United States. He was mainly inspired by the aesthetic ideologies of his time. The 19th-century art purchasers were captivated by the artist’s rough, idealized Western landscapes, which were painted on a big scale with a wealth of detail and dramatic lighting. Their fascination propelled Bierstadt to the top of the American art market.