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It’s no wonder people were inspired to explore the West when they viewed paintings like the ones below. Bierstadt and his fellow painters idealized the  landscapes and created a fantasy out of the “American Dream” It gives you pause to think about how this incredible country was viewed before planes and cars connected the coasts.

 Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 – February 18, 1902) was a GermanAmerican painter best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century.

Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone Park (c. 1868), Oakland MuseumOakland, California

Staubbach Falls, Near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, (1865)

Storm in the Mountains, (1870)

Bierstadt was part of the Hudson River School, not an institution but rather an informal group of like-minded painters. The Hudson River School style involved carefully detailed paintings with romantic, almost glowing lighting, sometimes called luminism. An important interpreter of the western landscape, Bierstadt, along with Thomas Moran, is also grouped with the Rocky Mountain School.

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