Autumn In America, Oneida County, New York is a vertical landscape oil painting by the German American artist Albert Bierstadt. The date in which this was made is unknown. The artist traveled a lot to gather new beautiful sceneries for his artworks, but he had his studio in New York and could have gone to the Oneida County at any moment. He usually did only sketches outdoors, creating later great artworks in his New York studio.
In this painting, differently from his usual works, Bierstadt doesn’t give the light a magical, almost divine, treatment. It shows a landscape during daytime in the countryside. The color of the leaves, especially of the tree in the foreground, on the right side of the canvas, is made with an orange range of tones. The sky is a gradient blue. It starts white in the distance, in the left center of the canvas, and develops into a dark blue in the top border of the painting. These two colors, blue and orange, are complementary. This means that the presence of both in the same compositions gives them more power, making them look more vibrant.
In the foreground, in the left corner, there are rocks in a very dark shade of brown. These rocks are a counterpoint of balance to the rest of the elements, for all of them are bringing the painting’s weight to the upper side of the canvas. This heavy visual information of the rocks makes it equal, the number of information on the upper part of the painting and the bottom.
Landscapes that are painted on a vertical canvas are, just for this characteristic bold. Academically speaking, landscapes are supposed to be horizontal works, just as portraits should be vertical. As Bierstadt was a master in the building of well-resolved compositions, Autumn In America, Oneida County, New York is no exception. It is pleasant to look at and shows this American bucolic scene in a very appealing way.
With this work, we can see how Bierstadt didn’t depend on the marvelous landscapes of the American West to create beautiful paintings. Though those landscapes were the ones for which the painter became most famous, and also with which he got most of his wealth, other scenarios could inspire him to make dazzling landscape paintings, like the ones he did in the Bahamas, for example.
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