Valley Of The Yosemite Analysis

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This paper will explore the works of Helen Frankenthaler and Albert Bierstadt. These two artists were separated by nearly ninety years, but both used their landscapes to transport the viewer beyond the modern world they inhabited into nature, wonder and peace. Valley of the Yosemite was created by Albert Bierstadt in 1864. Valley of the Yosemite is a small finished sketch that is only 11.874 x 19.248 inches. It was created on paperboard with Oil Paints and now resides in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Mountains and Sea by Helen Frankenthaler is a massive oil and charcoal creation. Its canvas is 86.625 x 117.25 inches and is on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. The basis of this comparison is to look at these two different …show more content…

Bierstadt and Frankenthaler both wanted to transport the viewers into their world and give them escape from the ugliness of war.

Valley of the Yosemite is a sweeping landscape of a California vale at dawn. As the light from the rising sun flows through, the vista’s only inhabitants, a small herd of deer are seen drinking from a small lake of water. Shortly before his excursion Yosemite, Bierstadt was drafted into the army in 1863, but paid for another to take his place. He had already served in 1861 and created a painting named Guerilla Warfare, Civil War that was based on his involvement. He joined a survey party traveling to the American West he was eager to see what others had described as “America’s Alps.”[1] Bierstadt received his education while painting the Swiss Alps, with other Romantic artists of the time and brought with him classical European training and outstanding technical skills. He had encountered many mountain landscapes before, but upon …show more content…

This was when she began developing a love of landscapes that would continue through her entire career. Mountains and Sea was inspired by a trip Frankenthaler took to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. She was struck with the rarity of the scene that had both mountains and sea together on the East Coast. After returning to her studio in New York Helen used charcoal to lightly sketch the shapes of the scene and used a new mixture of oil paints and turpentine to create the emotion she felt standing in Cape Breton. She used coffee cans to pour the paint onto her huge canvas and let it soak in and stain the canvas to create an almost water color effect. She was so captivated by the beauty and sublime feeling the landscape had invoked in her, she hadn’t realized what she had done until she was finished. Mountains and Sea is a gentle wash of pastel reds, blues, and greens. The colors blossom up and out in the representation of mountains, while sprays and lines of blue water frame and enhance the land. The freedom and spontaneity Frankenthaler’s work inspires is at the very heart of Abstract Expressionism. And her focus on mood and reflection, rather than an explosion of feeling, makes Mountains and Sea a fair representation of a Color Field painting. Mountains and Sea was considered a soothing balm to the public who were faced with the daily horrors that were shown on television of the Korean War.

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