Seal Rock, California is a painting created by Albert Bierstadt in c. 1872 using the Luminism style. Bierstadt’s emphasis on atmospheric elements like fog, clouds and mist can be seen in this artwork of the iconic rock formation located off the coast of California.
Born in Germany, Bierstadt was a Hudson River School painter who drew inspiration from his travels throughout the American West. During his visit to California between 1871 and 1873, he sketched and painted various coastal vistas, including Seal Rock.
The painting is not an exact depiction of Seal Rock as Bierstadt added artistic touches that inspired awe and used colors that were not necessarily true to the scene. The artwork was produced based on sketches and photographs taken during Bierstadt’s survey expedition to the Rocky Mountains in 1859.
“Seal Rock, California” played a vital role in securing Albert Bierstadt’s position as one of the leading landscape painters of his time. It has been auctioned several times at various galleries and currently forms part of the collection at New Britain Museum of American Art.