Albert Bierstadt, a German-American artist renowned for his expansive landscapes of the American West, created the painting “Nevada Falls, Yosemite” in either 1872 or 1873. This work is part of a series that captures the breathtaking geography and mystical allure of Yosemite National Park. The painting depicts the Merced River as it cascades over a precipice, tumbling nearly six hundred feet onto a rocky terrain below, forming a dramatic torrent of white water and mist.
Bierstadt’s “Nevada Falls, Yosemite” is not just a mere representation of nature but an artistic interpretation that enhances the scene’s grandeur. It features sightseers, including two women in hiking attire, which underscores the accessibility of Nevada Falls to visitors who could reach it by ascending a rugged trail from Vernal Falls, located a mile and a half downstream. This inclusion of human figures highlights the adventurous spirit of the time and the growing interest in exploring America’s natural wonders.
The painting is a testament to Bierstadt’s skill and his role in the Hudson River School, a group of artists known for their romantic portrayal of America’s landscapes. His works, including this one, played a significant role in raising public awareness about the beauty of places like Yosemite and the importance of preserving them from destruction.
Today, “Nevada Falls, Yosemite” by Albert Bierstadt is housed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it can be viewed as part of the museum’s permanent collection. The painting measures 39 30 inches (99.1 76.2 cm) and is framed within dimensions of 48 1/16 x 39 x 5 1/16 inches (122 x 99.1 x 12.8 cm). It was gifted to the museum by Mrs. J. Augustus Barnard in 1979 and is identified by the accession number 1979.490.3.
For those interested in viewing the painting or learning more about it, further details are available on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website, which also offers open access to public domain images of the artwork for unrestricted use.