Apr 21, 2010

Fir Trees and Storm Clouds

Fir Trees and Storm Clouds

c. 1870

Albert Bierstadt

(American, 1830–1902)

Oil on paper mounted on canvas

Unframed: 35 x 47 cm (13 3/4 x 18 1/2 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1982.37



Bierstadt made his first journey West in 1859, opening the eyes of other American artists to the potential for inspiration in the Western landscape. This atmospheric study is generally associated with his inaugural 1859 trip, but may also belong to a later Western visit in 1870. The low horizon and vividly observed sky place the painting within the tradition of European plein-air (open air) oil sketching, similar to the work of John Constable. Even though the landscape occupies only a small portion of the scene, the different species of trees are carefully distinguished and the rocky outcrops are characteristic of the Western terrain where Bierstadt was traveling.

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