Sunday, January 8, 2012

Seattle Art Museum

In 2011 we went to see an exhibition  
of one of my favorite artists, Albert Bierstadt, 
at the Seattle Art Museum.

It was the thrill of a lifetime for me. 

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) was an American painter, born in Solingen, Germany. His family immigrated to Massachusetts in 1832. At 23, he returned to Germany to study art under landscape painters at the Dusseldorf Academy.

A member of the Hudson River School,
Bierstadt is one of the most prominent
landscape painters of the nineteenth century. 

He was hired to go on a government expedition in 1859 to produce paintings of the American West to promote Western settlers. Those were the paintings I saw at the museum.

Naturally they wouldn't let me take pictures. But I bought some postcards. That will have to be my poor substitute. But you can see how beautiful the paintings are even from a postcard. I love the way he captures the light.

Albert Bierstadt
Among the Sierra Nevada, California, 1868
oil on canvas, 72 x 120 

This painting took up an entire wall! 

Imagine the artist hiking in to these remote habitats
to set up his paints and easel in all kinds of weather. 

This was before the West was settled.
There were very few roads
and certainly not in these places!  

The town I live in here in Washington State
was not even established until 1898! 

Albert Bierstadt
Gates of the Yosemite, 1882

Oil on paper, mounted on canvas, 14 x 20 inches

Albert Bierstadt
Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Valley, 1872

Oil on paper, mounted on canvas 14  x 20 inches

Albert Bierstadt
King's River Canyon

Albert Bierstadt
Cathedral Rocks

Albert Bierstadt
Mountain Out of the Mist

If you have ever traveled in the American West, 
you know how ruggedly beautiful it is. To capture that on canvas was amazing.

There were other paintings there as well. It was an exhibition of early American Landscapes. Frederick Church, Thomas Moran, Alvan Fisher, among others.

Thomas Moran (1837- 1926)
Cliffs of the Upper Colorado River, Wyoming Territory, 1882

Alvan Fisher (1792 - 1863)
The Great Horseshoe Fall, Niagara, 1820
Oil on canvas - 34 x 48 in. 

There were a few East Coast paintings, also. 

Not only was the exhibition beautiful, but the city was equally exciting. Seattle is a beautiful city with architecture of varying styles. Tinted blue glass is used in this unusual building. If you have ever been to Vancouver, British Columbia, you will see the same tinted blue glass in most of it's buildings. It is very beautiful.

Here is another example. All of these buildings were viewed just outside of the Art Museum.

We took a little stroll and came upon this little scene on the corner. I love the pastel 
buildings and the globe street lights. 

Looking the opposite way, I noticed this charming apartment above a little store on the corner.

In another life this is where I would live. 
Just a hop and a skip away from my dream job at the Art Museum!

As we were driving away from our lovely day in the city, I noticed these vintage hotel signs. I don't think the buildings are used as hotels any more, but they kept the signs up. Aren't they so 'retro'?

We also drove by the new Seattle Public Library. I have always wanted to go inside, but that will have to wait for another time.

Hubby knows that once I get inside, it would be a looooong day!

And so I had to say goodbye to the beautiful paintings,
 the gorgeous architecture, the amazing skyline.

Because we all know, I am a country girl at heart.



  1. Thank you so much for taking us on this trip to Seattle! It's not a city that I know very well. I like your choice of apartment and alternative life. Growing up in Portland, there was one apartment building downtown, probably from about the 1920s, made of red brick and with little bay windows in each apartment. I just longed to live there! And oddly enough, I now live in an upper flat (2nd and 3rd floors in American), in a granite building, with a bay window. Like a Scottish version of my girlhood dream, but with a lot more space and gardens all around.

    I hadn't heard of the painter whose work you showed us, but I see why you like it! When I saw your postcards, I thought, "That looks like Karen's photographs!" The scenery of the Pacific Northwest really has to be seen to be believed. Growing up I was always so proud to be from Oregon, and to show visitors around with my parents. Later on, someone remarked how incredibly smug Oregonians can be! I hope I never came across that way... :-)

  2. Hi Christine, I thought of your lovely flat when I photographed my 'dream' apt. I do think that early influences have much to do with our later choices in life.

    The Northwest is indeed a very special place. I have been all across this beautiful country and this is one of the most beautiful places if you love Mountains and unspoiled scenery. I don't think having appreciation for God's green earth can be described as 'smug', but there are critics for everthing! Thank you for your thoughts, as always! xx

  3. I had fun choosing this particular painting online that now hangs in my downtown office, from, who sells canvas prints of art masterpieces. While the original is treasured in some art museum in England, my print, of this painting by Edward Burne-Jones is very much appreciated by my staff and clients. The print quality is really excellent.

    1. Thank you so much for this link! I know my reader's and myself appreciate a resource for fine art prints. It is always nice to have a recommendation of quality. Thank you for visiting. xx

  4. Many thanks for posting this on Paint Monthly. The paintings are so majestic and show an area of America I would love to visit. I particularly liked the picture showing the gates of the yosemites. I'm sure everyone will love reading about this gallery. Barbara xx


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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