The German-American artist, Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), is famous for his landscapes of the American West. Many of the landscapes depict the beautiful waterfalls in the Rockies.
Bierstadt is one of only a few painters who has become famous during his lifetime. As a result, many of his paintings were popular and in demand during his lifetime. In 1865 he sold “Rocky Mountain, Lander’s Peak,” for instance, for $25,000 in 1865. He also sold other large landscapes, such as “A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie,” for $20,000 and more.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of Bierstadt’s notable artworks and list some important museums and collections where his work can be found.
More about Albert Bierstadt Painter
Artist Albert Bierstadt was born in 1830 in Solingen, Germany, and when he was just a year old, he moved to the U.S. with his parents. From a very young age, he was interested in the American West, and as a young man, he joined many journeys to the area. He joined the journeys to create paintings, make sketches of, and gather information about places where very few Westerners had been at that time. As a result, he established himself as the best West American landscape painter during the 19th century.
When he was 23, he returned to Europe for art education. Unfortunately, everything didn’t work out as he had planned, but he met Worthington Whittredge and the German-born Emmanuel Leutze – two artists who helped him.
In 1856, he journeyed with Whittredge and other artists to Switzerland and Italy on a painting tour. Many “plein-air” Albert Bierstadt artworks were created during this tour, and the “plein-air” style inspired his later large and famous Albert Bierstadt paintings. In addition, art historians believe that the European experience was the inspiration for the works Albert Bierstadt later created in the Rocky Mountains.
Famous Albert Bierstadt Art – “Cho-looke, the Yosemite Fall”
In 1863, Albert Bierstadt visited the valley of Yosemite when traveling with a group of artists. He was quite astounded by the large scale of Yosemite Falls.
The large scale and the natural majesty of Yosemite Falls are depicted in his painting “Cho-looke, the Yosemite Fall.” To convey the “feeling” of the majestic falls, he gave perspective to the scale of the waterfall by painting a grove of cypresses and oaks in the foreground with men gathered at their camp.
Interestingly, he included a sketching umbrella, a color box, and several other objects that he always had in the right corner of the painting.
One of the Very Special Albert Bierstadt Artworks – “Rocky Mountain Waterfall”
“What makes this painting, “Rocky Mountain Waterfall,”. A notable and special artwork, is that Bierstadt succeeded in meticulously capturing the gorge and cascading falls in “photographic” detail.
The soggy moss growing on the rocks and the surrounding lush greenery are depicted in the smallest detail.
A Painting Depicting Nature Before Human Interference – “The Falls of St Anthony”
This is also one of Albert Bierstadt’s works created in the 1880s. It is an oil landscape where Bierstadt portrayed the natural scene in its raw form before human interference. At the same time, he included the Native Americans and a figure with a hat and walking stick.
The figure with the walking stick and hat might represent the discoverer of the falls, Louis Hennepin.
Other Notable and Famous Paintings by Bierstadt
Other very famous Bierstadt paintings include the following:
- “Lake Lucerne” – The most important European landscape painting before his American West paintings.
- “Roman Fish Market – Arch of Octavius” – The painting symbolically depicts the decline and fall of ancient Rome’s monuments. It is also one of his early “European” paintings.
- “On the Hudson” – The painting captures the Hudson River shoreline on a calm day.
- “Indians Spear Fishing” – This painting portrays the American West as a sublime wilderness that seemingly could be found only in the Book of Genesis
- “A Storm in the Rocky Mountains” – In 1863, Bierstadt made on-site studies for his work and then completed it later in his New York studio.
- “The Emerald Pool” – “The Emerald Pool” is one of his largest canvases flaunting New Hampshire’s Mount Washington.
Important exhibition places of Bierstadt artwork
Most of Bierstadt’s famous works are exhibited in museums and public art galleries. For your convenience, we provide you with a list of some of the art museums and other institutions where you’ll be able to view some of Bierstadt’s paintings. We only list institutions with at least 3 Bierstadt works of art on exhibition.
The Museum of Fine Art, Boston
The Museum of Fine Art, Boston, houses at least 21 of Bierstadt’s famous paintings, including “Grove of Trees,” “Thunderstorm in the Rocky Mountains,” “Niagara from the American Side,” and “Snow Scene with Buffalo.”
The Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA
The Haggin Museum, Stockton, houses at least 13 of Bierstadt’s paintings, including “After a Norther, Bahamas,” “Canadian Rockies,” “Moose in a Forest Glen,” and “Sunset in the Yosemite Valley.”
Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
In this museum, you’ll find some famous Bierstadt paintings, including “Lake Tahoe” and “Indians on Horseback.”
H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco
This museum has at least 6 of his works on exhibition, and the paintings include “Niagara Falls” and “View of Donner Lake”
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
At least 7 Bierstadt works of art are exhibited in this museum, including “Scene in Tyrol” and “Gathering Storm.”
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.
The works exhibited in this art museum include “Gates of the Yosemite” and “Sunrise in the Sierras.”
Albert Bierstadt Conclusion
Museums in many U.S. cities and towns house at least one Bierstadt work of art. The cities and towns include San Francisco, Berkley, New York, Denver, St Louis, Omaha, Hartford, and Boston. However, some Bierstadt works are in private collections and are not so easily available to view.
There are numerous notable Albert Bierstadt paintings, and, fortunately. You can view most of these works in permanent and other exhibitions.