Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast
born Solingen, Prussia, 1830; died New York City, 1902
It is, we are told, in all essential features, a portrait of the place depicted, and we need the assurance to satisfy us that it is not a superb vision of that dreamland into which our much admired painter has made at least as many visits as he has made among the material wonders of the West.
—On Bierstadt's painting of Puget Sound, from "On the Easel; Return of the Artists to their Studios," New York Evening Mail, October 24, 1870
Albert Bierstadt was a great adventurer and made many trips to the United States' western frontier regions, which is why one enthusiastic New York reviewer believed this painting represented the artist's faithful "portrait of a place." But Bierstadt had likely not yet traveled to the Washington Territory in 1870. The painting was possibly a commission from a New York shipping magnate who had made his enormous fortune on the Pacific coast. Enterprising artist that he was, Bierstadt did not shy away from the challenge of painting a place he had not yet seen.
Oil on canvas, 52 1/2 x 82 in. (133.4 x 208.3 cm) Frame: 71 1/2 × 101 1/2 × 7 in. (181.6 × 257.8 × 17.8 cm), Gift of the Friends of American Art at the Seattle Art Museum, with additional funds from General Acquisition Fund , 2000.70,
Signed: Signed and dated, LL, "A Bierstadt, 1870"
Provenance: Abiel Abbot Low (1812-1893), Brooklyn, New York, by March 1872; bequeathed to either his son Abbot Augustus Low (1844-1912), New York, or his son Seth Low (1850-1916), New York, 1893; [Emmanuel David (died 1949), David Gallery, New York, before June 1916-1949]; bequeathed to his nephew, Philip R. Herzig, New York, 1949-2000