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 first posted this painting a year ago. Sometimes life gets ahead of us, and we just need moment of serenity, a chance to relax and let go of stress. Life is a little hectic right now, with sorting through the possessions we’ve acquired over the years of living in this house. A box filled with corkscrews … how many does one family need? A shopping bag packed with coaxial cables and no hint of what they were once connected to. What were we saving these for? And then there are the things people give you that you wouldn’t have bought for yourself, but which you now own and feel guilty for not appreciating.
We are moving those things on, donating them to Value Village, a store where someone else will want them and love them as they deserve. Today’s picture is a moment in time, a day long ago, but which is exactly what I needed on this dark and rainy March day.
I love the peace 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, employing powerful imagery to show his stories.
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).