Albert Bierstadt, ‘Rocky Mountain Landscape’, 1870, White House Historical Association

This oil painting of the Rocky Mountains was done by Albert Bierstadt. Bierstadt painted this scene soon after returning from a two year tour of Europe and seven years after traveling west to the Rockies. This painting took elements from various sketches of different landscapes; some of the mountains resemble Alpine peaks more than they do the Rocky Mountains. Bierstadt was among the Hudson River School artists of the 19th century. Bierstadt was renowned for his depictions of the American West and documenting Westward Expansion in the late 19th century. There are six pieces by Bierstadt in the White House Collection.

Image rights: White House Collection/White House Historical Association

"This Art is Your Art" Competition: The White House Historical Association, Artsy, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Gift of The Barra Foundation, Inc.

About Albert Bierstadt

A member of the Hudson River School of painting—a loosely associated group of romantic American landscape artists, whose sublime luminosity later prompted the term Luminism—German-born Albert Bierstadt produced hundreds of large-scale sweeping oil paintings of the American West over the course of his prolific career. Joining land surveyors and parties on journeys of Westward expansion, Bierstadt depicted numerous classic vistas, such as the Rocky Mountains, the Oregon Trail, Yosemite, and other virgin landscapes, as well as scenes of Native Americans and wild animals. Though his work was acclaimed and fetched considerable sums during his lifetime, Bierstadt also drew criticism from some contemporary reviewers for his excessive effects, including dramatic weather systems, saturated light, overbearing scale, and color that could verge on expressionistic. Bierstadt studied under the German romantic painter Karl Friedrich Lessing.

German-American, 1830-1902, Solingen, Germany, based in New York, NY, United States