Art of the Week
Watkins and Bierstadt
on display now at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Watkins - Three Brothers
Bierstadt - Mirror Lake
Carleton E. Watkins
Born and died United States, 1829-1916
Carleton Watkins' mammoth photographic views of Yosemite were recognized in
1862 as "indescribably unique." These works persuaded the United States
Congress in 1864 to pass legislation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln,
protecting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa grove of giant Sequoias in an
inalienable public trust. These awe-inspiring photographs influenced
landscape painters of the period, such as Albert Bierstadt.
Carleton E. Watkins, Three Brothers, Yosemite National Park, No. 28, 1861.
Albumen print. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Gift of Yolanda and Arthur B.
Born Germany, 1830; died United States, 1902 (active United States)
Albert Bierstadt was inspired by Carleton Watkins' large-scale photographs
of Yosemite. Popular demand for spectacular landscape imagery expressing
the sublime in nature, a divine space untouched by Civil War strife, fueled
Bierstadt's painting. Working from photographs, he created majestic views,
such as Mirror Lake, on grand canvases in his New York City studio.
Albert Bierstadt, Mirror Lake, Yosemite Valley, 1864. Oil on canvas. Santa
Barbara Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Sterling Morton to the Preston Morton