Valley of the Yosemite

Description

Following his first trip to the Rocky Mountains in 1859, Albert Bierstadt returned to the western United States in 1863 with his friend, the author Fitz Hugh Ludlow. Both men were tremendously impressed by the splendor of the landscape. Ludlow published his assessment of the scenery in the June 1864 issue of Atlantic Monthly, proclaiming that the Valley of the Yosemite in California surpassed the Alps in waterfalls and the Himalayas in precipices; Bierstadt wrote of their trip to his friend John Hay that he had found the Garden of Eden.
Bierstadt effectively combined his studio training abroad and his facility for sketching outdoors, successfully cultivating a market for western pictures back in the East. He painted this small, finished oil sketch, probably his first of the subject, in his New York studio the year after his trip to Yosemite, and sold it at the Metropolitan Sanitary Fair in New York for $1,600, the highest price paid for a painting at the sale. Small-scale oils like this one, which has the freshness of studies executed in the field, also served as inspiration for compositions the artist envisioned on a grand scale and painted in his studio. This work is likely a finished sketch for the much larger (five by eight feet; 1.5 by 2.4 meters) Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California (1865, Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama), painted the following year. Bierstadt became known for such panoramic canvases.

MetaData

Dublin Core

Title

Valley of the Yosemite

Subject

Yosemite, Hudson River School, Bierstadt, painting

Description

Following his first trip to the Rocky Mountains in 1859, Albert Bierstadt returned to the western United States in 1863 with his friend, the author Fitz Hugh Ludlow. Both men were tremendously impressed by the splendor of the landscape. Ludlow published his assessment of the scenery in the June 1864 issue of Atlantic Monthly, proclaiming that the Valley of the Yosemite in California surpassed the Alps in waterfalls and the Himalayas in precipices; Bierstadt wrote of their trip to his friend John Hay that he had found the Garden of Eden.
Bierstadt effectively combined his studio training abroad and his facility for sketching outdoors, successfully cultivating a market for western pictures back in the East. He painted this small, finished oil sketch, probably his first of the subject, in his New York studio the year after his trip to Yosemite, and sold it at the Metropolitan Sanitary Fair in New York for $1,600, the highest price paid for a painting at the sale. Small-scale oils like this one, which has the freshness of studies executed in the field, also served as inspiration for compositions the artist envisioned on a grand scale and painted in his studio. This work is likely a finished sketch for the much larger (five by eight feet; 1.5 by 2.4 meters) Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California (1865, Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama), painted the following year. Bierstadt became known for such panoramic canvases.

Creator

Albert Bierstadt, American (born in Germany), 1830–1902

Source

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA Boston)

Publisher

N/A

Date

1864

Contributor

Monica Bravo

Rights

Public domain

Relation

Paintings and Sculptures

Format

30.16 x 48.89 cm (11 7/8 x 19 1/4 in.)

Language

En-US

Type

Painting

Identifier

47.1236

Coverage

Date Created

January 20, 2018

Date Modified

January 20, 2018

Access Rights

Public domain

Medium

Oil on paperboard

Bibliographic Citation

http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/valley-of-the-yosemite-33107

Spatial Coverage

Yosemite

Temporal Coverage

Civil War, 19th Century

Accrual Method

Gift of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

Audience

General audience

Provenance

April 1864, Metropolitan (Sanitary) Fair Auction, New York to James Lenox (1800-1880), New York for $1600; 1870, Lenox Library, New York; 1895, Lenox Foundation, New York Public Library; 1943, with Coleman Auction Galleries, New York; 1943, with A. F. Mondschein, New York; 1943, sold by A. F. Mondschein to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I.; 1947, gift of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 12, 1947)

Rights Holder

http://www.mfa.org/about/terms-of-use

Citation

Albert Bierstadt, American (born in Germany), 1830–1902, “Valley of the Yosemite,” Park Culture, accessed March 5, 2021, http://parkculture.org/items/show/96.