Albert Bierstadt. “Sunlight and Shadow.” New York: Emil Seitz, 1864. Chromolithograph printed in Berlin by Oeldruck V. Storch & Kramer. 22 x 18 1/2 (image). Chromolithograph. Signed and dated in the image lower right. Print mounted to original backing as issued with original label mounted on verso. In period frame. Print has been de-acidified. Very scarce. Very good to excellent condition.
Bierstadt is considered one of the greatest painters of the American west. Bierstadt (1830-1902) was born in Germany, near Düsseldorf, grew up in the United States, and in his twenties studied at the Düsseldorf Academy in Germany. There he was deeply impressed by the tradition of heroic painting for which that school was famous. Bierstadt is well known for his grand painting and prints of the American West.
Painted in 1862, “Sunlight and Shadow,” represented Bierstadt’s first critical and popular success and the painting was sent to Berlin to be chromolithographed. This print is his first major reproduction executed on a rather grand scale. The print was touted as the “the finest specimen of the art yet seen in the country.” Bierstadt was one of the first artists to use chromolithography to expand the market for their art and chose a German lithographic firm capable of reproducing his work in printed colors. This print depicts a shaded European church door and the wonderful dappling of light and shadow that is cast on the statues, church door and cobblestones.