The Thomas Cole National Historic Site takes the road less traveled with its current exhibition of works by American artist Albert Bierstadt. As an artist typically associated with American Western art, Albert Bierstadt in New York & New England allows audiences to see an uncommon selection of Bierstadt’s oeuvre—specifically his northeastern landscape paintings. Unveiled earlier this week, this exhibition demonstrates Bierstadt’s insurmountable capability as a leading nineteenth-century American landscape painter: Those familiar with his work will appreciate the seamless transition between capturing the spirit of the American West and that of the Hudson River Valley, while others encountering Bierstadt’s canvases for the first time will be amazed by magnificent scenes of New England and the White Mountains. In addition to the eleven landscapes paintings by Albert Bierstadt, the exhibition includes two stereographic books with built-in lenses, which belonged to the artist’s brothers, Charles and Edward Bierstadt. Albert Bierstadt in New York & New England reflects a unique sense of familial influence—many of the locations that Albert painted were discovered while he was scouting possible locations for his brothers to photograph.
During the nineteenth century, the wild, untamed terrain of New York and New England served as inspiration for Hudson River School artists and Bierstadt’s paintings will transport show-goers directly into the wilderness. The dramatic vantage point of Niagara Falls from Prospect Point might make you feel as if you are teetering on the edge of a cliff, and the mist rising from the churning waterfall is almost palpable. As the region began to develop, scenes like Mt. Ascutney from Claremont, New Hampshire became painted examples of American progress and cultural development. I highly recommend visiting Albert Bierstadt in New York & New England at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York to see this rare collection of paintings—several pieces in this exhibition have been loaned from private collections and galleries and will be returned to their original homes after the show closes on November 3, 2013!