During the summer of 1863, Bierstadt visited Yosemite Valley in California and made numerous sketches. Back in his New York studio, he used these sketches to produce numerous majestic paintings, including this view of the distant granite peak Mount Starr King. Such scenes thrilled East Coast audiences and helped encourage early movements to save America’s natural wonders. In 1864, President Lincoln signed a bill preserving Yosemite as public property. The area became a national park in 1890.
(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art).