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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Albert Bierstadt’s Domes of Yosemite




Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)
Domes of Yosemite
Chromolithograph
Paper size: 33" x 21 ½" ; Framed: 45 1/2” x 34 1/2”
London, 1870
On stone by T.J. Dillman; Printed by Oeldruck Breidenbach & Co. in Dusseldor
Signed lower right in image: ABierstadt
$55,000


Impressive in scale and lavish in detail, Albert Bierstadt's great paintings, engravings, and chromolithographs capture the poetry and the majesty of the wilderness.  He was among the most successful artists of the 19th-century helping capture America's optimism in her outlook on the future and the West.  His images of grandeur only added to America's fascination with the mythic West and the spirit of adventure and discovery that it represented.  The combination of imagery and actual elements resulted in glorious compositions that were based as much in reality as in the ideal.  While his landscapes retain their accuracy on flora and fauna and remains true to actual locations, a sense of sense of wonder and grandeur override the experience with his work.  In educating the American public about the West, Bierstadt depicted a landscape which could rival any in Europe in magnificence, while conveying a distinctly American pioneer spirit.  The beauty of his work arises not only from the clarity and skill of his painting, but from his understanding and ability to portray the notion of Manifest Destiny.

Bierstadt's 1860s paintings of the Rocky Mountains were already extremely popular at the time he returned to the American West to create this spectacular image of the unique rock dome formations of the Yosemite Valley.  This work gave the world one of its first views of this wonder of the West and forever made the area synonymous with the wonder of the West.
                                                                                               
                                               

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