ALBERT BIERSTADT (American 1830-1902)
Hunter in the White Mountains Near Glen House, 1869
Oil on paper
Inscribed on verso: White Mts. Near Glen House 1869
Provenance: private collection, upstate New York
Best known for his images of the West and of Yosemite, renowned landscape painter Albert Bierstadt also had a special attachment to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He visited the area several times over the course of his career between 1852 and 1886, and created some of his most noteworthy paintings there, including The Lake at Franconia Notch, White Mountains (Newark Museum), Moat Mountain (Currier Gallery of Art), and The Emerald Pool, 1870 (Chrysler Museum of Art), a work Bierstadt considered to be his finest.
Bierstadt's first documented trip to the White Mountains was in 1852, just prior to his departure to study and travel in Europe. He returned to the White Mountains in September 1860, and The Cosmopolitan Art Journal noted that Bierstadt went "into the White Mountain region to sketch, and to experiment photographically, along with his brother, a photographist of eminence." It was this trip that prompted the art periodical The Crayon to praise Bierstadt for "a series of views and studies taken in the White Mountains." Bierstadt returned to the region in September of 1861, staying for approximately three weeks, and in 1862, he returned again and remained for much of the summer. The following winter, the Leader noted, "nearly an entire wall of his studio is filled with studies and sketches from his White Mountain sojourn." Bierstadt traveled to the White Mountains in the fall of 1869, when the present work was painted, and again during the summer months of 1874.
Bierstadt was not only a prolific artist, but also an avid hunter and sportsman. His affinity with nature no doubt inspired his choice of artistic subjects. Throughout his career, Bierstadt traveled into the wilderness with his palette and paper to make oil sketches and studies that he would later use in his New York studio as the basis for his larger paintings. While working on-site, Bierstadt preferred to work on easily transportable sheets of paper, generally no larger than 13in.x 19in. Bierstadt's oil sketches offer an intimate and sensitive view of the natural surroundings; they often appear more fresh and spontaneous than his larger, more finished oil paintings.