Albert Bierstadt Captures Vanishing 19th Century Wilderness This Week at LiveAuctionTalk.com Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller. She brings the world of art, antiques and collectibles to life in her weekly column. Visit the site and sign up for a free weekly subscription.
News-Antique.com - Aug 01,2011 - Albert Bierstadt captured the glory and the heartache of the Western wilderness in his 19th century paintings. For people who would never get the chance to travel west, the artist offered a firsthand glimpse of an unspoiled landscape through his timeless images.
His landscapes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Mt. Shasta, The Grand Tetons, and Mt. Hood offer an up-close, seductive view of a way of life that was about to change forever.
Albert surprised and startled people with his massive canvases. That’s what it took for him to communicate the panoramic wilderness he witnessed. His attention to detail and atmospheric lighting mesmerized collectors. He was successful early on in his career.
One of the most important oils Albert did late in his career was called “The Last of the Buffalo.” There were actually several versions of the painting done. The one I’m speaking about here was created in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle in Paris.
By the end of the century professional buffalo hunters had sealed the fate of the Plains Indians by killing off all but a few hundred remaining buffalo. Only two decades before the bison numbered 13 million.
On April 21, PBA Galleries, San Francisco, featured a photogravure (print) signed in pencil by Bierstadt of “The Last of the Buffalo” in its Fine Americana with Travel & Exploration sale. The 16 inch by 27 ½ inch piece sold for $16,800.
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