DescriptionALBERT BIERSTADT (American 1830-1902)
Watercolor and gouache on paper
8in. x 10in.
Signed and dated lower right: Albert Bierstadt, May 1/95
While Bierstadt is best known for his large evocative landscapes of the American West, he also produced smaller pictures with an intimate and immediate sensibility. He often created impromptu paintings of butterflies for guests who toured his studio. One visitor described her experience at Bierstadt's studio: "We women were so glad we were women that afternoon, for Mr. Bierstadt presented each lady with a souvenir. We all clustered about the table and he took out a palette, a knife and some large slips of cartridge paper. Two or three daubs of pigment on the paper, a quick fold, and holding it still folded against a pane of glass, he made two or three [strokes] of that wizard-like palette knife on the outside and, hey, presto! A wonderful Brazilian butterfly or moth, even the veining on the wings complete!" The present Butterfly was kept in the collection of the artist and his second wife, descending with their heirs for almost a century.
Provenance: The artist's second wife, Mrs. Mary Stewart
by descent to her nephew and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Reed, New York
by descent to their niece, Ruth Reinhart Hurley, CT
Estate of Ruth Reinhart Hurley, CT
Berry Hill Galleries, New York
acquired from the above by the present owner
Reference: Quoted in Gordon Hendricks, Albert Bierstadt: Painter of the American West, 1986, p. 302).
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