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Bierstadt first visited the Yosemite Valley in 1863 and subsequently painted it in all seasons, climates, moods, and hours as well as in its several aspects - as a wondrous marvel and a pleasant
park bordered by precipitously rising mountains, as an intimate place for a picnic or rest, and as a snow-covered desolate wilderness. He painted it in small and monumental scale, on small and
enormous canvases. He was so charmed by the site that one historian has even conjectured that Bierstadt planned his second western trip only after seeing Carleton Watkins's photographs of the
valley in Goupil's Gallery in New York City in 1862.
The Domes of Yosemite shows Yosemite as a parklike enclosure, even though the valley floor was still wilderness. Despite threatening skies, the serenity of the view describes Yosemite's Edenic qualities. (Bierstadt usually preferred wilderness to garden scenes.) In fact, this is one of the artist's most harmoniously composed Yosemite scenes.
MOST POPULAR PAINTINGS
The Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak, 1863
Valley of the Yosemite, 1864
Rocky Mountain Landscape
The Last of the Buffalo
Merced River Yosemite Valley
Among the Sierra Nevada California
A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt Rosalie