Albert Bierstadt's Incredible 'Among the Sierra Nevada, California'
The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. is home to one of the world's largest collections of American art, spanning the colonial period to the present. And on the second floor of the east wing hangs Albert Bierstadt's (1830 - 1902) Among the Sierra Nevada, California, a massive oil-on-canvas with an otherworldly luminescence evocative of a Tolkien fantasy.
The German-born artist painted panoramic scenes of sprawling Western landscapes throughout the 1860's, unveiling the works with promotion and ceremony to audiences eager for an artistic glimpse of wild and quickly disappearing frontiers. One of the more famous of these pieces is Among the Sierra Nevada, painted in 1868 and measuring 96 1/4 x 144 3/8 x 7 1/4 in. (244.5 x 366.7 x 18.4 cm).