BIERSTADT, Albert (1830-1902)
The Rocky Mountains (Lander's Peak)
London: Thomas McLean, 1869. Lithograph, printed in colours, by Jacob Lutz, printed by Kell Brothers. Mounted on board. Sheet size: 18 x 31 1/4 inches.
In 1859, Bierstadt joined an expedition to the West led by Colonel Frederick W. Lander. This work was painted four years later in New York as a tribute to Lander who died in 1862 after a distinguished military career. Bierstadt found it fitting to name the central summit in memory of his fallen friend. The painting was a huge success and was quickly bought by the English railroad magnate James McHenry for $25,000. The success of the work is in the vastness of conception from the Shoshone encampment, the carefully rendered foliage in the foreground, the meadow leading to the gleaming lake and beyond the magnificent snow-capped peak. Bierstadt sought to overwelm his audience with wonders and intrigue. The chromolithograph, printed by the Kell Brothers in England, preserves Bierstadt's sumptuous palette. This Western paradise immediately appealed to the imaginations of most Americans, who had only read about our untamed frontier. The painting today is in the Metropolitan Museum of American Art Collection.
Nancy Anderson and Linda S. Ferber, Albert Bierstadt Art & Enterprise, pp. 274-275, number 78, figure 90, illustrated in colour page 291.