Albert Bierstadt is best known for his large, grandiose paintings of the American West. Born in Germany, he and his family moved to Massachusetts when he was a child. As a young man he returned to Europe and learned his craft in the Alps of Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Back in the United States, he traveled on westward expeditions and created field studies; later in the studio he applied his impressive technical expertise to landscapes. His paintings of the Rocky Mountains and Yosemite Valley were immensely popular in the 1860s and 1870s, as they offered a romanticized vision of America's wilderness as the Promised Land.
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