Albert Bierstadt, a German-American artist, was known for his grand landscapes of the American West. One of his famous works included The Grizzly Giant Sequoia, Mariposa Grove, California, which was featured in exhibitions like the National Academy of Design and the Royal Academy in 1874. The painting showcased a tree with a massive trunk measuring 28 feet wide and soaring up to 209 feet high.
Bierstadt’s fascination with California trees did not falter even after achieving critical acclaim. In fact, one of his last significant successes came in 1880 with The Shore of the Turquoise Sea. Unfortunately, in 1882, Bierstadt lost numerous artworks when his studio burned down amidst an already depressed art market.
The theme that runs throughout Bierstadt’s artistic career is undoubtedly boldness and grandeur. His larger-than-life landscapes depict not just nature but also human ambition and scale vis-a-vis it. While some see this as indicative of manifest destiny or imperialism prevailing at the time of his fame (mid-1800s), others acknowledge that it also highlights American optimism about industrialization and progress – themes one can still notice across popular media today.