Albert Bierstadt was born in Germany in 1830 and brought to the United
States as a child in 1831. He returned to Germany in 1853 to study painting
at the Dusseldorf Art Academy. Bierstadt returned to the United States
Bierstadt was a very successful landscape painter i the period of 1850
to 1870. He did huge pictures that sold for $30,000.00 and up at that
time; however, about 1892 the critics felt that is pictures were too
large and the geography plus the perspectives were not correct. It's
interesting to note that a few of his canvases were of actual wall size
which did not lend themselves to hanging very well.
When he died in 1902, there were 1200 paintings in his estate and they
were sold for a total of $10,000.00!! His works were said to be "worthless".
To relieve some of their embarrassment, some galleries and museums hid
Bierstadt's paintings in the basement, hoping to never see these pieces
again. Late in 1940, the largest painting was owned by the National Gallery
of Art and was burned by the gallery because of its size and the space
it was consuming.
The critics then became aware of the power, immensity and spaciousness
of Bierstadt's works in the 1950's. Whatever "faults" the paintings
had were of no consequence and overnight the pieces became worth, literally
The painting of Estes Park is interesting in that Bierstadt was guest
of Lord Dunraven's, helping him select a home site along Fall River Road.
This site inspired Bierstadt. He had the panorama of Longs Peak, Mt.
Meeker, Twin Sister and more. The lower part of this scene would be where
the golf course and the high school are now located
Photo Above: Estes Park