Merced River, Yosemite Valley

Albert Bierstadt American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

On May 12, 1863, in the company of the journalist and explorer Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Bierstadt departed on his second trip to the West. The two men camped in California’s Yosemite Valley in August, probably inspired by the stereoscopic photographs of Carleton E. Watkins, who had recorded the valley’s magnificent scenery under various atmospheric conditions in 1861. From the many studies Bierstadt made during the trip, he painted several large works back in his New York studio. In this canvas, monumental, jagged peaks dwarf a group of foreground figures, likely depicting members of Yosemite’s Indigenous population, who inhabited the valley for millennia prior to Bierstadt’s arrival.

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Merced River, Yosemite Valley, Albert Bierstadt (American, Solingen 1830–1902 New York), Oil on canvas, American

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