Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite Valley, California Albert Bierstadt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This is a watercolour painting that was completed in 1872. It is currently on display at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, California. This painting depicts Bridal Veil Falls as seen from above by looking down through trees and other obstacles.

The falls are only about 100 feet (30 metres) high, but they provide an impressive view. The top of the fall can barely be seen through the forest, but only because the artist leaves that portion out - if he included it, there would be nothing to see but trees. This view gave rise to the name Bridal Veil Falls since it looks like a bride's veil flowing down towards her feet.

The painting is extremely detailed, due partly to the fact that Bierstadt was an avid hiker and had travelled through Yosemite before, but more likely because this was his way of showing off himself as an artist, which he was known for. The somewhat hazy view gives the impression that one is looking at a distance with many obstacles between oneself and the subject.

Bierstadt tends to favour painting landscapes. However, this was painted just when painters started to get more experimental with their views. As a result, he chooses to leave out some of the foreground objects even though it would have been easy for him to include them, making his skill look all the more impressive. His romantic pieces are representative of the Hudson River School, an early 19th-century art movement that depicted American landscapes with great detail.

Bridal Veil Falls now stands as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Yosemite National Park and is readily accessible to many hikers interested in seeing it. It is also, along with Yosemite Falls, one of the park's most spectacular waterfalls. Bridal Veil Falls is located in Yosemite Valley on the south wall of El Capitan. It has a total height of 1,000 feet (300 metres) and flows all year round after heavy rainfall.

The painting gradually shifts from lighter tones to dark. Culminating in the centre of the piece is a small waterfall surrounded by greenery and various rocks. The painting was sold at an auction for $5,198 on June 26th, 1999, by Butterfield & Butterfield Auctioneers out of California. Most art enthusiasts praised Bierstadt's attention to detail in terms of how he depicted the landscape. He had a keen eye for detail for nature but rarely incorporated animals and people in his paintings. Indeed, he loved mountains, nature, and trees. Those interested in American art should also check out Thomas Cole, with artworks such as Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, The Voyage of Life: Old Age and River in the Catskills.