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American artist Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) specialized in landscape paintings, particularly of the American West. Albert Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany and brought to New Bedford, Massachusetts when he was two years old. In 1854 he returned to Dusseldorf, Germany to study painting. While in Europe he made many field trips along the Rhine, in the Alps and in Italy painting with fellow Americans Whittredge and Gifford.

He returned to the United States in 1857 and painted the landscape. In 1859 he was invited to join General Lander's expedition to survey a wagon route to the Pacific. This was the first of three trips west by Bierstadt. While on these trips he would make oil sketches on paper and then return to his studio where they often became huge panoramic paintings. These works, especially of the Rocky Mountains, brought him immediate and overwhelming popularity that he soon became America's most popular painter.

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