Title: View to a Clearing by Albert Bierstadt
Medium: oil on paper mounted on canvas
Dimensions: Height: 14 in (35.5 cm); Width: 19 in (48.2 cm)
Inscriptions: Signature bottom left: ABierstadt
What I love about this painting:
I love the serenity of this scene, one of Bierstadt’s quieter paintings. The muted colors, the rising mist, the filtered light, and the cattle grazing show us a hazy afternoon. It was perfect for a picnic, for mind-wandering, and a good day for painting.
Bierstadt is one of my favorite artists because he was often over the top, a little fantastic, and usually epic. He saw drama in nature and painted it, and like every good storyteller, his imagination filled in the blanks with with powerful imagery.
About the artist, via Wikipedia:
Despite his popular success, Bierstadt was criticized by some contemporaries for the romanticism evident in his choices of subject and his use of light was felt to be excessive. Some critics objected to Bierstadt’s paintings of Native Americans on the grounds that Indians “marred” the “impression of solitary grandeur.”
Interest in Bierstadt’s work was renewed in the 1960s with the exhibition of his small oil studies. Modern opinions of Bierstadt have been divided. Some critics have regarded his work as gaudy, oversized, extravagant champions of Manifest Destiny. Others have noted that his landscapes helped create support for the conservation movement and the establishment of Yellowstone National Park. Subsequent reassessment of his work has placed it in a favorable context, as stated in 1987:
The temptation (to criticize him) should be steadfastly resisted. Bierstadt’s theatrical art, fervent sociability, international outlook, and unquenchable personal energy reflected the epic expansion in every facet of western civilization during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Bierstadt was a prolific artist, having completed over 500 paintings during his lifetime.
Credits and Attributions:
Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Albert Bierstadt – View to a Clearing.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Albert_Bierstadt_-_View_to_a_Clearing.jpg&oldid=343092014 (accessed March 5, 2021).
Wikipedia contributors, “Albert Bierstadt,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Albert_Bierstadt&oldid=1009967730 (accessed March 5, 2021).
2 responses to “#FineArtFriday: View to a Clearing by Albert Bierstadt”
After reading about Dr. Suess all week, I am now keenly aware that a talented artist (or writer) with a long career is going to have condemners — not just critics, but folks with damning words of intense ridicule — and those critics will not take into account any context of the artist’s life, education or place in society. Bierstadt’s stuff is amazing — was then, is now — glad he got some recognition for his efforts.
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That is so true, Ellen. Context and a sense of balance is everything!