Stunning View of the Rocky Mountains and Native Indians by Albert Bierstadt
"The Rocky Mountains",
Subject: Rocky Mountains, Wyoming
Period: 1866 (dated)
Color: Black & White
27.8 x 18 inches
70.6 x 45.7 cm
This stunning view of the Rocky Mountains is based on an oil painting by Albert Bierstadt. Born in Germany in 1830, Bierstadt emigrated to the United States when he was a toddler, but returned to Germany for several years to study painting. Drawn to sweeping landscapes, he joined the Honey Road Survey Party in 1859, led by land surveyor Frederick W. Lander. The Honey Road Survey Party was tasked with establishing the location for a new wagon road out west, exposing Bierstadt to breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. This view centers on Lander's Peak, which Bierstadt named after Lander after his death in the Civil War in 1862. Bierstadt finished his painting in 1863 and exhibited it at the Tenth Street Studio Building in New York City. The painting was an immediate success and sold to a private collector for $25,000 (which equates to over $350,000 today) in 1865. The painting is now housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Bierstadt commissioned an engraving of his painting, which was created by James D. Smillie and took three years to complete. In the foreground is an encampment of Shoshone Natives, some tending to their horses while others examine the yield from a recent hunt, including goats, ducks, and a bear. Although the view is a composite of several different scenes that Bierstadt witnessed, it captures the majestic beauty of nature combined with iconic images of Native Indians - a historic representation of the American West.
A superb impression on a clean, bright sheet with expert repairs to a tear in the top left corner of the image and several marginal tears and minor creases.