The view in this canvas painting captures the artists' experiences after two all-embracing visits to the American West. It is a recording of his awe at the brilliance of nature.

Illustration & Technique

The Buffalo Trail the Impending Storm is a mesmerizing canvas painting that brings out varying fundamentals of nature. In the forefront, from right to left, buffaloes are seen majestically crossing the river. It's almost like they are coming from the dark, gloomy clouds on the right in the background. The artist uses soft touches of his brushes to gently merge in the dark clouds that shift into a brighter blue as they rise into the brightly lit sky. On the top left corner, the sky then turns into a brownish, bluish tint, clearing the centre for the bright white illumination from the sun hiding behind the dark clouds.

At the front of the painting, the grassy meadows are a combination of green and brown hues, illustrating the new growth of shrubs and trees. The ripples in the river show movement caused by the stormy breeze and the buffaloes crossing. The buffalo migration doesn't seem hasty despite the dark clouds, indicating they are at peace with the storm.

The trees on the left side of the painting illustrate the wind's direction, and behind them are peaks of granite monuments. Bierstadt has captured the sky's turmoil magnificently, and it's almost like the skies are fighting between lightening up and going all dark and gloomy. If one were to associate the painting with the artists' emotions when creating the Buffalo Trail the Impending Storm, one would feel mixed emotions with no clear suggestion of which side was winning, the bright or the dull side.

The artist shows meticulous detail in the leaves at the front right of the painting and the brush strokes of the grass and the leaves of the trees on the left. The dark patches are balanced at the centre towards the right and left, leaving a glimpse of the light at the centre, beckoning one to behind the trees, where the light seems to be appearing from.

Location of the Painting

The Buffalo Trail the Impending Storm is part of the Corcoran Collection. It was acquired as a gift from Mr and Mrs L.K. Christie (Museum Purchase).