Albert Bierstadt, Yosemite Valley, 1868, Oil on canvas. Gift of Miss Marguerite Laird in memory of Mr. and Mrs. P.W. Laird.

Early Landscape Painting

Once the intense excitement of the Gold Rush calmed, Californians turned their gaze to the natural beauty of the environment. East Coast and European painters like Albert Bierstadt and William Keith, and California’s first African-American artist, Grafton Tyler Brown, conveyed a sense of the sublime in the newly discovered wonders of Yosemite. William Coulter, Marius Dahlgren and others captured coastal light and weather. Later, California-born artists like Lucia Mathews, Joseph Raphael, and Guy Rose fostered a calmer, more intimate vision of the California landscape. The Museum holds an unparalleled collection of California landscape painting, dating from the early 19th century.

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