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Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West Exhibition

Please enjoy this selection of objects from the Center's collection featured in the Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West exhibition. Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) is best known as America's premier western landscape artist. He was also a renowned history painter, a rarely discussed element of his legacy. This major exhibition addresses Bierstadt in context of his treatment of bison and American Indians, whom he approached as key subjects for his art. This exhibition promotes fresh, new perspectives on a beloved American artist.

A Buffalo Bill Center of the West Virtual Exhibit
Curated by: NicoleH


Island Lake, Wind...
Bierstadt, Albert | Painting...
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5.79 | 1861 | H: 26.5 in, width: 40.5 in, Frame height: 39.125 in, Frame width: 53.125 in, frame depth: 5 in | Island Lake, Wind River Range, Wyoming | Museum Purchase. The Board of Trustees dedicates this painting to Mr. Wiley T. Buchanan III in recognition of his faithful service as Chairman of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art Advisory Board of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 2005-2009. | In 1859, Bierstadt accompanied an expedition led by Colonel Frederick Lander to the Wind River Mountains. Making oil studies and taking stereographic photographs, Bierstadt brought back to New York his first western imagery. Island Lake features the recessive planes, meticulous brushwork, and highly polished surface texture characteristic of Bierstadt's work at this time. | LRC, ABierstadt/1861 | 5.79.jpg | 5.79.jpg | 5.79.JPG | 5.79.jpg | 5.79.web.jpg | 5.79.jpg | 5.79.jpg | Landscape | Painting | oil on canvas | Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) Island Lake, Wind River Range, Wyoming 1861, oil on canvas Museum Purchase The Board of Trustees dedicates this painting to Mr. Wiley T. Buchanan III in recognition of his faithful service as Chairman of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art Advisory Board of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 2005-2009. In 1859, Bierstadt accompanied an expedition led by Colonel Frederick Lander to the Wind River Mountains. Making oil studies and taking stereographic photographs, Bierstadt brought back his first western imagery to New York. Island Lake features the recessive planes, meticulous brushwork, and highly polished surface texture characteristic of the artist's work at this time. 5.79 | Born and trained in Germany, Albert Bierstadt was one of the first and most successful artists to seize the American West as his artistic frontier. In 1859 he accompanied an expedition led by Colonel Frederick Lander to the Nebraska Territory and the Wind River Mountains in present-day Wyoming. Making oil studies and taking stereographic photographs, Bierstadt returned to his New York studio to create romantic views of the West composed of equal parts observation and imagination. Island Lake features the dramatic perspective, meticulous brushwork, and highly finished surface that were characteristic of Bierstadt's early career. | Bierstadt, Albert

A Bull Buffalo
Bierstadt, Albert | Painting...
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1.62 | ca. 1878 | H: 13.25 in, width: 15.25 in, Frame height: 16.25 in, Frame width: 18.25 in | A Bull Buffalo | Gift of Carman H. Messmore | LR: ABierstadt | Titled referenced in: A. Pendarves Vivian, Wandering in the Western Land (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1879), p. 292 | 1.62.jpg | 1.62.jpg | 1.62.jpg | 1.62.web.jpg | 1.62.JPG | buffalo | Painting | oil on paper mounted on board | Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) Buffalo Head ca. 1879, oil on paper mounted on board Gift of Carman H. Messmore, 1.62 | Bierstadt, Albert

The Last of the B...
Bierstadt, Albert | Print | ...
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4.85 | 1891 | H: 24.5 in, width: 34.25 in, Frame height: 30.25 in, Frame width: 40 in, frame depth: 2 in | The Last of the Buffalo | Bequest in memory of the Houx and Newell families | [1891] In the print LRC Albert Bierstadt, In pencil LR margin: Albert Bierstadt, In UR margin: Copyright 1891 by Albert Bierstadt | Reproduced from Corcoran Gallery's version of the painting. | 4.85.jpg | 4.85.JPG | Animal | Indian | Print | photogravure | Bierstadt, Albert

The Last of the B...
Bierstadt, Albert | Painting...
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2.60 | ca. 1888 | H: 60.25 in, width: 96.5 in, Frame height: 68.5 in, Frame width: 105.5 in | The Last of the Buffalo | Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Trust Fund Purchase | With bleeding buffalo and bleached skulls in the foreground, the landscape artist Bierstadt represented the theme of wildlife vanishing from the wilderness. He made the shapes of distant mountains repeat the shapes of the main figures, thus underlining the interdependent relationships in nature. The Last of the Buffalo implies other endings. | LLC: ABierstadt | Book: Redrawing Boundaries: Perspectives on Western American Art; Institute of Western American Art, Denver; and the University of Washington Press, Seattle; 2007, page 75 | 2.60.jpg | 2.60.jpg | 2.60.jpg | 2.60.JPG | 2.60.jpg | 2.60.jpg | 2.60.web.jpg | Animal | hunting | Indian | Other | Painting | oil on canvas | Bierstadt, Albert

Bull Elk
Bierstadt, Albert | Painting...
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29.61 | unknown | sight height: 18.5 in, sight width: 13.75 in, Frame height: 16.5 in, Frame width: 21.375 in | Bull Elk | Gift of Carman H. Messmore. | LR: ABierstadt | needs photography | 29.61.JPG | Animal | Painting | oil on paper | Bierstadt, Albert

Yellowstone Falls
Bierstadt, Albert | Painting...
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2.63 | ca. 1881 | H: 44.25 in, width: 30.5 in, Frame height: 54 in, Frame width: 39.5 in, frame depth: 4.5 in | Yellowstone Falls | Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Taggart | The author of one of the first guidebooks to Yellowstone National Park wrote that he "had the pleasure of sitting beside and conversing with the famous American artist, Bierstadt, as he was seated on a point in the Grand Canyon about 400 feet below the surface engaged in reproducing in oil, upon canvas, the Grand Canyon and Falls. It was indeed marvelous to see with what rapidity and accuracy these scenes were by him transferred to the canvas." | LLC: ABierstadt | Acoustiguide. | Magazine: Yellowstone Science; Volume 13, number 3, summer 2005; article: Yellowstone, Art, and the Emergence of Aesthetic Conservation by Peter H. Hassrick; U.S. Department of the Interior; page 9 | 2.63.jpg | 2.63.jpg | 2.63.JPG | 2.63.jpg | 2.63.web.jpg | Yellowstone Falls | Landscape | Painting | oil on canvas | Bierstadt, Albert

Geysers in Yellow...
Bierstadt, Albert | Painting...
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4.77 | ca. 1881 | H: 26.25 in, width: 36.5 in, Frame height: 32.5 in, Frame width: 42.5 in | Geysers in Yellowstone | Gift of Townsend B. Martin | Bierstadt loaned this painting and four others to the White House and tried to convince Congress to purchase them for the President's residence. Although Bierstadt was not successful in selling his paintings to the government, his work inspired President Chester A. Arthur to travel to Yellowstone National Park in 1883 to see the natural wonders. | LLC ABierstadt | 4.77.JPG | 4.77.jpg | 4.77.jpg | 4.77.web.jpg | 4.77.jpg | Landscape | Painting | oil on canvas | Bierstadt, Albert

A Surround of Buf...
Miller, Alfred Jacob | Paint...
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2.76 | 1848-1858 | H: 30.375 in, width: 44.125 in, Frame height: 38.5 in, Frame width: 52.625 in, frame depth: 3.5 in | A Surround of Buffalo by Indians | Gift of William E. Weiss | Miller once described the buffalo hunt: "[The Indians] all start at once with frightful yells and commence racing around the herd, drawing their circle closer and closer, until the whole body is huddled together in confusion. Now they begin firing, and as this throws them [the buffalo] into a headlong panic and furious rage, each man selects his animal." | LL: A Miller | Film: Documentary; Washakie: Last Chief of the Eastern Shoshone, Kyle Nicholoff, Director, KCWC-TV Wyoming Public Television, Riverton, 2003 | 2.76.JPG | 2.76.jpg | 2.76.web.jpg | 2.76.jpg | 2.76.jpg | hunt | Animal | Other | Painting | oil on canvas | Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) A Surround of Buffalo by Indians 1848-1858, oil on canvas Gift of William E. Weiss, 2.76 | Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) A Surround of Buffalo by Indians 1848-1858, oil on canvas Gift of William E. Weiss, 2.76 | Miller, Alfred Jacob

A Herd of Bison C...
Hays, William Jacob, Sr. | P...
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3.60 | 1863 | H: 36.125 in, width: 72 in, Frame height: 44.5 in, Frame width: 80.375 in, frame depth: 4 in | A Herd of Bison Crossing the Missouri River | Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Trust Fund Purchase | Primarily a painter of animals, Hays also succeeded in creating a splendid landscape for this work. He faced the difficult problem of conveying the immensity of the Missouri River plain. Using a high viewpoint, he made the river stretch into the far reaches of the composition. | Lower right side of bottom center, W.J. Hays/1863 | Formerly known as The Herd on the Move | Book: Art of the Lewis & Clark Trail, by Jeff Evenson; Whisper'n Waters, Inc., Bismark, North Dakota, 2003, image on endsheets | 3.60.jpg | 3.60.jpg | 3.60.jpg | 3.60.web.jpg | 3.60.jpg | 3.60.JPG | 3.60.jpg | Missouri River | bison | Painting | oil on canvas | William Jacob Hays, Sr. (1830-1875) A Herd of Bison Crossing the Missouri River 1863, oil on canvas Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Trust Fund Purchase, 3.60 William Jacob Hays primarily painted wildlife, but he showed in this work that he could also create splendid landscapes. Using a high viewpoint, he made the river stretch into the far reaches of the picture to convey the immensity of the Missouri River plain. | Hays, William Jacob, Sr.

Hunting Buffaloe
Darley, F.O.C. | Print | eng...
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24.88 | Image height: 4.5 in, Image width: 6.125 in, Sheet height: 6.125 in, Sheet width: 8 in, Frame height: 13.5 in, Frame width: 14.125 in | Hunting Buffaloe | Gift of William D. Weiss | European artists, like the engraver Jacob van der Schley, often had imaginative ideas of the appearance of American wildlife, especially the bison. American artists who had little frontier experience, like Darley, used other artists' pictures as sources. | (Below image:) Engraved Expressly for Grahams Magazine by Cushman from an Original Drawing by Darley/HUNTING BUFFALOE | 24.88.JPG | Indian | buffalo | Print | engraving on paper | Darley, F.O.C.

Buffalo Chase
Eastman, Seth | Print | engr...
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8.83 | comp height: 5.5 in, comp width: 8.875 in, Sheet height: 7 in, Sheet width: 9.375 in, Frame height: 19.75 in, Frame width: 14.5 in | Buffalo Chase | Eastman, an officer in the U.S. Army, painted scenes of the Dacota while stationed at Fort Snelling in Minnesota. These engravings were published in a six volume book on the history of Indian tribes. | Printed LLC: S. Eastman Capt. U.S.A., Bottom center: P1. 9 Buffalo Chase, LRC: R. Hinshelwood | Source: The Old Print Shop, Inc., New York, N.Y. | 8.83.jpg | 8.83.JPG | Animal | Indian | Landscape | Group | Print | engraving on paper | Seth Eastman, artist (1808-1875) Robert Hinshelwood, engraver (1812-1875) Buffalo Chase engraving on paper 8.83 Hunting the Buffalo in Winter 1851-1857, engraving on paper 9.83 At Fort Snelling in Minnesota, Eastman observed small numbers of buffalo. With an artist's imagination he created the classic images of the buffalo hunt seen here. (26 words, 0% passive, 43.9 ease, 10.3 grade) | Eastman, Seth

Mounted Indians C...
Bonheur, Rosa | Painting | o...
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8.04.6 | 1890 | H: 13.75 in, width: 19 in | Mounted Indians Carrying Spears | Partial Bequest of Vernon R. Drwenski and Museum Purchase | In this painting Bonheur depicts Rocky Bear and Red Shirt, two prominent Lakota (Sioux) who performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West. She portrayed the Indians mounted on horseback and in an idyllic landscape setting, a presentation similar to her painting of William F. Cody. | verso: C5892 (in blue) / 2892 (in blue) / 19890 (stamped) | 8.04.6.jpg | 8.04.6.jpg | 8.04.6.web.jpg | Painting | oil on board | Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) Rocky Bear and Red Shirt 1890, oil on board Partial Bequest of Vernon R. Drwenski and Museum Purchase Many Plains Indian nations depended greatly on horses. Bonheur, an artist known for her depictions of horses, portrayed two prominent Lakota (Sioux) who performed in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in France. Fascinated with the exotic warriors, she chose to depict these Indians mounted on horseback. 8.04.6 | Bonheur, Rosa

Col. William F. C...
Bonheur, Rosa | Painting | o...
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8.66 | 1889 | H: 18.5 in, width: 15.25 in, Frame height: 24 in, Frame width: 21 in, frame depth: 2.5 in | Col. William F. Cody | Given in memory of William R. Coe and Mai Rogers Coe | Buffalo Bill enthralled Europeans with his Wild West exhibition when he took it to Paris in 1889. Bonheur visited the grounds of Cody's Wild West to sketch the exotic American animals and the Indian warriors with their families. Cody, in turn, accepted the invitation of Rosa Bonheur to visit her chateau in Fontainebleau where she painted this portrait. For Rosa Bonheur, Buffalo Bill embodied the freedom and independence of the United States | LLC: "Rosa Bonheur/ -1889-" | Acoustiguide. | Book: Iconic America: A Roller-Coaster Ride Through the Eye-popping Panorama of American Pop Culture; by Tommy Hilfiger with George Lois; Universe Publishing, a division of Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.; New York, 2007, page 99 (detail) | 8.66.jpg | 8.66.jpg | 8.66.jpg | 8.66.JPG | 8.66.jpg | 8.66.web.jpg | Figure | Landscape | Animal | Buffalo Bill | Painting | oil on canvas | Bonheur, Rosa