Western Trail, The Rockies 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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Albert Bierstadt was one of the best painters to show the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains. His drawings were regularly highly colourful, oversized and depicted the enormous distances and measures of the American West.

What's more, his integration of stirring scenery and glowing colours made Albert one of the most celebrated painters of the American West around the 1870s.

What Inspired Albert Bierstadt?

In 1859, Albert made his first trip to the West by accompanying Frederic Lander for a government excursion. The main purpose of the trek was to travel to California and enhance the mountain passes of the paths. The team trailed through the Oregon Trail, where Albert Bierstadt acquired essential knowledge of the events that happened along this scenic and historic trail.

He came across many emigrants returning East after failing to find treasures in the Colorado gold strikes. Still, he encountered others who joined their excursion on their path to the West. Bierstadt’s observations of the nearby overland migration were essential sources of his ideas in his future artworks, such as the Western Trail, The Rockies.

As their excursion reached the mountains, he was mesmerised by their attractiveness. Albert Bierstadt was also fascinated by the Indians. However, he did not regard them as cruel savages as other Americans did during that period. Although he was brought up in the East, Albert enjoyed camping life more than others. The incredible wildlife variety, the unfolding historical events, and the astonishing scenery he came across were of significant help for his future drawings.

After this expedition, Albert returned to the East and drew some of his most outstanding drawings. He believed that it was challenging to capture the attractiveness of the Rocky Mountains on a small oil painting, which is why he opted to draw them on oversized, large canvasses. The Rocky Mountains, one of his famous and beautiful artworks, measure more than sixty square feet.

His artworks were popular among the American public because they incorporated stunning colours, had large sizes, and enthralling attention to details in the foreground. Once again, Albert ventured into the West in 1863, where he went beyond the Sierra Nevada. In the late 1860s, he went back to Colorado and spent a couple of years drawing the beautiful landscapes and mountains in that area.

Albert Bierstadt's paintings were well-known in Colorado, such that the area named a mountain to honour him, Mount Bierstadt. This mountain stands near Mount Evans and along the Front Range. Still, they also named a beautiful alpine lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park after him.