Valley of Meyringen, Switzerland
(Valley of Meringen [sic], Switzerland, alternative)
oil on paper laid down board
signed lower right at a slant:
AB 1858, verso, titled, signed and dated
board 6 1/2 x 5 3/4in (16.5 x 14.3cm) Provenance: sold Sotheby's Parke Bernet, Los Angeles, 17-18, 1980, lot 271. Albert Bierstadt's painting, Valley Meyringen [sic], Switzerland is in the Albert Bierstadt database and will be included in the Bierstadt catalogue raisonne. The composition and brushwork as well as the medium and support are characteristic of this American painter.
Bierstadt studied art in Germany and traveled in Europe from 1853 to 1857. He was in Meiringen, Switzerland, in the summer of 1856 with Worthington Whittredge and William Stanley Haseltine and other artists on a sketching tour. In September, they stayed at a pension catering to artists in the Meiringen Valley and it was this trip that inspired Valley of Meyringen, Switzerland. Bierstadt may have started the painting during this trip and finished the composition once back home in his New Bedford studio. Ruins were a popular subject for the touring artists. Another painting of ruins by Bierstadt that dates to 1858 is Ruins of Paestum at the Minneapolis Museum of Art.
Note: The contemporary spelling of the Valley is Meiringen. Spelling in the 19th Century was fluid and Bierstadt inscribed it Meyringen on the reverse of the painting, hence the title. It was in a subsequent auction with the spelling, Meringen.
We thank Melissa Webster Speidel, President of the Bierstadt Foundation and Director of the Albert Bierstadt catalogue raisonne project, for her assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.