Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) - German American Painting of the Week - Looking Up the Yosemite Valley
MONDAY - Bierstadt: a painter of the American wilderness
Albert Bierstadt loved to paint majestic views such as can be found in our national parks. Albert Bierstadt was a German who immigrated to America.
Among the Sierra Nevada, California, 1868, Albert Bierstadt, Smithsonian American Art Museum
His paintings of the Rockies enabled many Americans to see what the mountains looked like for the first time, and he is credited as one of the first artists to show the beauty and vastness of America.
Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains by Bierstadt
Bierstadt’s painting, Among the Sierra Nevada, is 120 X 72 inches. The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range, most of which is located in California.
Looking Up the Yosemite Valley by Bierstadt
Bierstadt’s American landscapes make him a fitting choice as our school celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the United States National Parks. Our painting of the week is Looking Up the Yosemite Valley. Based on sketches Bierstadt made during a 1863 visit, the painting depicts one of America’s most scenic spots which was within what is now Yosemite National Park. It was Bierstadt’s first large-scale Yosemite picture, a subject for which he became well known.
Bierstadt's In the Mountains
Mount Corcoran by Bierstadt
Bierstadt’s paintings were popular because people in the eastern United States were fascinated by the western frontier. Prints from his paintings are still popular today.
Long's Peak, Estes Park by Bierstadt
Bierstadt's paintings helped create an appreciation for America's natural beauty and a desire to preserve it, which led to the creation of national parks. A lake is even named after Bierstadt which is located in what is now Rocky Mountain National Park. Bierstadt was brought to the area in 1876 by a wealthy Irish aristocrat to produce a painting for a castle in Wales.
Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park has 265,000 acres in Colorado. The park has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world with 60 mountain peaks above 12,000 feet. Rocky Mountain National Park also has 147 lakes, roughly 450 miles of streams, and several small glaciers and permanent snowfields that can be found in the high mountains.
Landers Peak by Bierstadt
Bierstadt completed over 500 paintings during his lifetime.
Storm in the Mountains by Bierstadt
Many of these are held by museums across the United States and in Europe.
YouTube video - Slide show of Bierstadt's paintings(7:01 min.)
Frederic Church's Heart of the Andes - Hudson River School
Bierstadt was considered part of the Hudson River School in New York. The Hudson River School was a group of landscape artists who started painting along that scenic river in New York. Their style of painting celebrated the American wilderness with detailed, realistic, and sometimes idealized paintings.
Sunglow by Bierstadt
Hetch Hetchly Valley in Yosemite by Bierstadt
This Hetch Hetchy Valley scene in Yosemite painted by Bierstadt is now under water from a dam that was built in 1923.
Cathedral Rock in Yosemite by Bierstadt
This Bierstadt painting depicts Cathedral Rock in Yosemite National Park.
YouTube video - Hudson River School [for upper grades] (3:04 min.)
THURSDAY - Bierstadt and Yellowstone
Yellowstone Falls by Bierstadt
Bierstadt traveled to the region of Yellowstone in 1871.
Like many other artists, he was inspired by the scenery to paint majestic landscapes.
Old Faithful by Bierstadt
Geysers of Yellowstone by Bierstadt
Bierstadt made several drawings of the geysers in Yellowstone. Approximately half of the world's geysers are found in Yellowstone.
Old Faithful is the most famous geyser in Yellowstone, but the park contains many more such as this one, Riverside Geyser. There are more than 10,000 hot springs and geysers in Yellowstone National Park.
His art of the region influenced the U.S. Congress to set aside Yellowstone as a park in 1872, making it the first national park in the world.
FRIDAY - Honors for Bierstadt
Yosemite Valley by Bierstadt
Bierstadt is one of the few artists we’ve learned about who enjoyed success as a painter within his lifetime. His large paintings of the American West were highly valued by 19th century art collectors. Bierstadt’s paintings sold for record-breaking prices for his time.
The Rocky Mountain, Lander's Peak by Bierstadt
The Rocky Mountain, Lander’s Peak, which he completed in 1863, sold for $25,000 in 1865. In Bierstadt’s later years, his work fell out of favor as being too romantic or theatrical. During the 1960’s, interest in his work was renewed and his paintings are still appreciated today.
The Last Buffalo by Bierstadt
Because of Bierstadt's interest in painting the landforms of the American West, a mountain, Mount Bierstadt, and a Lake, Bierstadt Lake in Colorado were named in his honor. In 1998, a U.S. postage stamp featured his painting, The Last of the Buffalo. Another stamp was issued in 2008 of his painting Valley of the Yosemite.
Centerofthewest.org. N. p., 2016. Web. 17 Aug. 2016.
Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California. (2016). Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 August 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Looking_Down_Yosemite_Valley,_California
McClure, N. (2015). Points West Online: Artists in America's First National Park.Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Retrieved 15 August 2016, from https://centerofthewest.org/2015/03/08/points-west-artists-in-americas-first-national-park/
Arkansas Visual Arts Frameworks
VA.7.5.3 Examine ways the physical environment affects visual art and the ways visual art affects the environment