Member of the Hudson River School—a mid 19th-century American art movement focused on romantic landscapes
Traveling westward with land surveyors and authors, he captured sketches to develop into large-scale paintings back at his New York studio.
In the 1860’s he became a member of the much-vaunted National Academy—an honorary association of American artists. He received medals as he traveled extensively in Europe and even had a private reception with Queen Victoria.
Demand for his work was so high that by 1865 his paintings were fetching $10,000 – $25,000 (worth approx $280,000 – $700,000 today)
When in 1872, his drawings of Yellowstone convinced congress to pass the Yellowstone Park Bill, he was firmly established as the preeminent painter of the American West.
Bierstadt used light to glorify the romance of sweeping landscapes, depicting the untamed West as a land full of promise, of Manifest Destiny, and the American Dream.
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