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Albert Bierstadts Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California is a scenic canvas oil painting on display at the National Museum of American Art in Washington DC Created in 1868 this enormous painting is approximately six by ten feet in size Honour and Fleming 2000 The subject matter of this piece is typical of Bierstadt who is known for his detailed landscapes especially those of the Rockies and Sierras of the American West Collectively Alberts works are manipulated and slightly idealized scenes based on actual places he visited Albert Bierstadt 1830-1902 was born in Germany and at the age of two he moved with his parents to Massachusetts In his early twenties he studied art in Dusseldorf Germany He traveled between the US and Europe throughout his life and painted mostly for private collectors Between 1859 and 1889 he traveled through the West on six different occasions where he drew inspiration for many of his paintings Encarta 2000 During his visits Albert drew numerous sketches which later became the basis for his works Bierstadts brother who was a photographer accompanied him on several of his travels across the US and upon seeing the landscapes from the photographs Albert was driven to paint these spectacular scenes from nature for people in the East Bierstadts paintings combine both European and American influences Although the subject matter in 19th century Europe consisted of mainly historical anecdotes with a movement towards Realism Bierstadt painted conventional American subject matter of landscapes and still life with German style Because of Alberts broad background his depiction of mountains often takes on an Alpine flavor Encarta 2000 Bierstadt was one of the premier American landscape painters of the 1800s and was well known in both the US and Europe Although Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains is a reflection of the American West it was painted far from the US This particular painting was created in Rome and displayed
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