Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite

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Albert Bierstadt

Frederick and Julia Billings probably acquired this painting for their home in Woodstock in 1870, the same year it was painted. In her diary entry for October 30th of that year, Julia Billings noted that, "He [Frederick] brought from N.Y. a fine landscape by Bierstadt." This view of Cathedral Rock was often chosen by artists and photographers such as Carleton Watkins, and Frederick and Julia Billings also owned a Watkins "mammoth" photo of this scene.

Albert Bierstadt was one of America's best-known and most successful landscape painters. He was born near Düsseldorf in Germany, and brought to America in infancy. He grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, but as a young art student he returned to Düsseldorf and studied painting there, as well as in Rome. In 1859, he traveled for the first time through the American West. In 1860, Bierstadt settled in New York, becoming a member of the National Academy in that year. He kept a studio at Irvington-on-Hudson for many years.

Oil on panel. L 60, W 45 cm
Marsh - Billings - Rockefeller National Historical Park, MABI 4162