|Click Image to view detail.|
When Albert Bierstadt painted Rocky Mountain Landscape in 1870, he had not seen the Rockies for seven years. He worked from studies made in 1863, during his second trip to the West. He had
recently returned from a triumphal two-year tour of Europe; the following year he would go west again.
Bierstadt's technical proficiency, earned through his study of European landscape, was crucial to his success as a painter of the American West. It accounted for his popularity in disseminating views of the Rockies to those who had not seen them. The immense canvases he produced established him as the preeminent painter of the western American landscape. In Rocky Mountain Landscape, the cascades suggest neither sound nor motion; the great cloudbanks are stopped in their ascent; the still water of the lake mirrors the rocks and locks them to the foreground shore through the complex and beautiful pattern of reflections.