Albert Bierstadt’s 1875 canvas California Spring is an imagined reproduction of a frontier landscape from an artist that firmly established the idea of the United States as a land of promise amongst the peoples of Western Europe. The artist was a German immigrant to the United States who became a notable entrepreneur and self-promoter. His immensely-sized canvases were inspired by a number of formative journeys taken alongside pioneers of the American Western Expansion. Arguably the aesthetic manifestation of the idea of manifest destiny - the belief that American settlers’ expansion across the continent was a God-given right - Bierstadt paintings embody a distinctly nationalism sentiment, suffused by the technical mastery and compositional flourishes of Romanticism. Though not the first artist to record the lands at the frontiers of American territory, Bierstadt became the most prominent painter of these landscape reproductions, along with fellow members of the informal group the Hudson River School.
Throughout the decades of the 1860s and 70s, Bierstadt became the most lucrative painter in American history. Taking numerous grand tours throughout Europe, Bierstadt was received with popular acclaim and critical scorn. Welcomed by heads of state such as Queen Victoria and Napoleon III, the artist returned to America as a powerful and established force. Coupled with his natural showmanship, Bierstadt turned his craft into a lucrative enterprise. Settling for some time in California, this studio reproduction of spring scene coincided with a number of setbacks. Primarily, the emerging influence of the Impressionists became a direct challenge to the work of his colleagues in the Hudson River School, offering utterly opposed ways of rendering a landscape scene. California Spring is therefore Bierstadt’s resilient and charismatic view of life as it should be, not as it is seen.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
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