Bierstadt’s Butterflies

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), Yellow Butterfly, c1980, oil and graphite, Yale University Art Gallery, Image Source: wikimedia
Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), Butterfly, dated April 16, 1896, oil and ink on paper, Image Source: Athenaeum
ALBERT BIERSTADT (1830–1902), Butterfly (Red, Orange), about 1893, Oil on paper, 5 x 8 in., Image Source: Hirschl and Adler Gallery, NY.
Albert Bierstadt, Butterfly, Image Source: Cutler Miles Gallery
Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), BUTTERFLY, signed Albert Bierstadt and dated Dec 16/ ’90, l.r., oil and pencil on paper, Image Source: Sotheby’s

“Bierstadt’s guests were often favored with delightful souvenirs from his hand. In Nassau these were little seashells with a few strokes of paint inside; in New York they were the famous ‘Bierstadt butterflies.’ His technique in charming the ladies with little Bierstadts of their own was described in 1892 by the lady reporter who had been titillated by the artist’s New York ‘afternoon’:

‘We women were so glad we were women that afternoon, for Mr. Bierstadt presented each lady with a souvenir. This is how he made them. We all clustered about the table and he took out a palette, a knife and some large slips of cartridge paper. Two or three daubs of pigment on the paper, a quick fold, and holding it still folded against a pane of glass, he made two or three strokes of that wizard-like palette knife on the outside, and hey, presto! a wonderful Brazilian butterfly or moth, even the veining on the wings complete! A pencil touch added the antennae, that artist’s autograph was added to the corner, and now we each of us own a painting by Bierstadt'” (Gordon Hendricks, Albert Bierstadt: Painter of the American West, 1974, p. 302-303).


See More

Albert Bierstadt wikidata project

Albert Bierstadt at Artnet

Thanks for Visiting 🙂


18 Comments Add yours

  1. What a surprise to learn that in addition to Bierstadt’s grand landscapes he made these miniatures—and to learn how he made them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He must have been quite a charming fellow…lol…🙂


  2. dawnmacroart says:

    That was fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good morning, Sunnyside!!!☀️ What a talented charmer this man must have been. His paintings are gorgeous! Thank you and have a good day!😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good morning, Susan! A charmer, indeed…lol Have a wonderful day🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the pulsating effect.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂


  5. johntodaro says:

    Much enjoyed these, thanks for sharing. Seems to be so many layers to his life, including work at his older brother Charles’ photography studio in New Bedford around the time of the Civil War.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so pleased you enjoyed this one, John. I did not know he had a brother, but I am looking forward to learning more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. David Gascoigne says:

    Must have been wonderful to have been a guest at one of these gatherings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, David/ 🙂


  7. rothpoetry says:

    These are gorgeous! What a great idea as gifts for guests made one the spot! Love it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He must have been a real charmer! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rothpoetry says:

        I can imagine!

        Liked by 2 people

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