This painting is the major work that resulted from the artist's first trip to the West. His intention to create panoramic views of the American frontier was apparent by December 1858, just before he embarked on the trip. In early 1859 he accompanied a government survey expedition, headed by Frederick W. Lander, to the Nebraska Territory. By summer, the party had reached the Wind River Range of the Rocky Mountains in what is now Wyoming. Bierstadt dubbed the central mountain in the picture Lander's Peak following the colonel's death in the Civil War. This was one of a number of large works painted after Bierstadt's return from these travels. It was completed in 1863, exhibited to great acclaim, and purchased in 1865 for the then-astounding sum of $25,000 by James McHenry, an American living in London. Bierstadt later bought it back and gave or sold it to his brother Edward.
Signature: [at lower right]: ABierstadt / 1863
With Emil Seitz, Seitz and Noelle Gallery, New York, by 1864; James McHenry, London, 1866–98; the artist's brother, Edward Bierstadt, 1898–died 1907; his daughter, Mary Adeline Bierstadt, 1907
Artist: Albert Bierstadt (American, Solingen 1830–1902 New York)Date: ca. 1891Medium: Drawings in graphite on off-white wove paper with gilt edges, bound in a leather coverAccession: 1995.379.3On view in:Not on view