In 1869, Albert Bierstadt painted the Buffalo Trail, also known as The Impending Storm which depicts once again, as it is common in this artist’s works, the American West. Born in Germany, his family moved with him when he was still a baby to the United States of America. There he decided he would become an artist and, in 1853, at the age of 23 years old, Bierstadt went back to Europe to develop his painting techniques.
As soon as he got back to America, he took part in one of the Westward Expansion journeys. There he made many sketches of the beautiful natural sceneries. Later he would transform such studies into great masterpieces. His paintings were mesmerizing, for he knew how to give energy to the scenes.
An excellent example of this ability is this particular painting. The Buffalos crossing a creek and field seem incredibly small in comparison to the storm that is forming in the sky. The clouds are dark blue, but at the right side of the canvas, it approaches a shade of black. Nonetheless, the sun is still visible in the upper part of the painting. There’s a sharp contrast between the sun and the clouds in the background.
The trees, which are on the left side of the canvas, are also painted in dark tones. This makes the buffalos, which are of a similar color, become more apparent. The sun is reflected in the water, which gives an even more dramatic feeling to the scene. The contrast between the buffalo and the reflected sun increases this perception.The effect Bierstadt created here is awe-inspiring. The trees and plants are all being blown by the wind in the same direction as the buffalos are going. This is a composition with a lot of movement.
Most of the Americans did not yet know the American West. The paintings Bierstadt did with this subject were of great importance for the increase in immigration to the West, as well as the national pride they helped foster. The painter was sometimes criticized for doing works that were too idealized. This seems to have been Bierstadt’s intention, to show the country under a magnificent light. Even though by the end of his life, the impressionist’s style was considered more interesting by art buyers, he was always a very successful artist.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
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