The Rocky Mountains, 1863
Albert Bierstadt (American, born Germany, 1830 - 1902)
engraving, 19 x 29 1/2 in. (48.3 x 74.9 cm) (image)
Bequest of Rebecca Salsbury James,1967
Albert Bierstadt was a German-American painter best known for his lush, sweeping landscapes of the American West. As a young man he joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion that inspired a critical phase of his career. Upon returning east with his sketches and stereographs, Bierstadt established a studio in New York City in 1859. There he produced the first of the panoramic western landscapes that established his reputation on an international level. He continued to make many excursions west and painted the first known rendition of the Yosemite Valley in 1864. Bierstadt was also part of the Hudson River School, an informal group of like-minded painters whose painting style involved carefully detailed paintings with romantic, almost glowing lighting, sometimes called luminism.
Reflective Questions and Activities:
|E||Write three or four words or phrases that you think of in response to this scene. What is it about this picture that motivated your response?|
|E/S||In the early 19th century there was a nationwide belief in the concept of “Manifest Destiny.” What did this term mean and how did it affect the opening of the West? How did Albert Bierstadt’s depiction of the Rockies strengthen interest in Manifest Destiny?|
What is an engraving? Why would Bierstadt use this medium at this time? What do you think he wanted to express about the Rocky Mountains? How did the use of prints affect the public’s interest in travelling out West?