Albert Bierstadt - First Painter to Capture Vastness of American Landscape
Albert Bierstadt's Yosemite Valley
A classic at the Haggin Museum, Stockton California
If you get an opportunity to visit Stockton's Haggin Museum. One of their more popular collections are those done by
Albert Bierstadt, from (1830 - 1902). an artist who painted before photographers had artists like Thomas Hill and Albert Bierstadt
to offer a glimpse at the wonders which existed in the West. His paintings depicting Yosemite and the Rocky Mountains ought to be an inspiration to any aspiring landscape photographer.
Bierstadt visited Yosemite and made many sketches of the Yosemite and valley then returned to his home in order to paint these magnificent sites based upon his notes and sketches. He was disparaged by numerous art critics and public at the time for being overly grandiose and for embellish the scale and color of the scene. Now those among us who have been to Yosemite Valley are full aware that no picture does it complete justice. Not even those images shot by newer digital cameras.
Personally I think his colors are a little muted while the scale of certain objects are quite accurate especially since his measuring device were probably his thumb or the tip of his pencil.
Now this scene vanished a long time ago after Chief Tenya along with the Yosemite Valley people were removed by force to an
Indian Reservation near Fresno. The Native Americans used to set Yosemite Valley on fire as their way of keeping the meadow clear and free from trees. Then they used the meadows in the valley many of their daily needs, pretty much like today's era would use a shopping center. Pine trees have overtaken many of the valley meadows. This vista in particular seems to be quite close to a main road pull-out that travels in two directions across the Yosemite Valley. This particular painting has been my personal favorite since i was 10 years old.
The Haggin Museum staff are all very charitable and helpful and typically go above and beyond. The policy of the museum' allows photography using full size tripods. (Although there some exceptions of a few special exhibits.) You are allowed to freely shoot photos of their superb Bierstadt collection for your own personal use and I hope they continue this policy.
NOTE: I am posting the image here for a restricted time frame to allow lovers of landscapes who may not get an opportunity to go to Stockton to see the painting in person. If you are able to visit the Stockton Haggin Museum I recommend you go. The museum admission is still just $5.00 and only half that for seniors over 65. They often have a banquet with wine with no additional cost. to find out , call ahead. Regardless, even at the 1800's prices its still a great price especially in today's economic climate. Prints of this painting and along with others found in the Stockton Haggin Museum may be purchased at very low prices from the gift shop.
for a map to see the museum's location