This week of Albert Bierstadt started with Arcy Douglass' Artist Talk about Bierstadt's Mount Hood at the Portland Art Museum on December 10. He mentioned that Bierstadt had dabbled in photography (box camera, glass plate, albumen print variety). Earlier I had read that Bierstadt's two brothers were photographers. Considering that I've been accused of spending far too much time on the internet, I felt compelled to search for some photographs of or by Bierstadt while on location. Imagine my surprise when I found this brightly colored image of a painting by Warrington Colescott – 1872: Edward Muybridge photographs Albert Bierstadt painting Yosemite Valley. Colescott (Robert Colescott's older brother) painted this watercolor in 1993.
Check out the photo on the left. It was taken by Edward Muybridge, the famous English photographer, while both he and Albert Bierstadt were in Yosemite in 1872. Bierstadt had busied himself painting Bridal Veil Falls, Nevada Falls and many other oil sketches of the Yosemite Valley. Muybridge had taken photos of Yosemite, the Indians who were there at the time and Bierstadt. Further searching turned up websites that contained more photos from Muybridge's trip to Yosemite. The photos make an interesting documentary and show that the Paiute Native American Indiams were inhabiting Yosemite in 1872, contrary to the information from the National Park Service. You can read more about this difference of opinion between the Paiute and the National Park Service here and here and here. I always thought it was the Miwok, but then I had visited Yosemite and looked at the National Park Service presentations.