shore scene with tree center front and tree right front, shore curving up around right ringed with smaller trees and white sand, small sail craft on water at left; vegetation; landscape; water; watercraft
Here, Bierstadt depicted the coast of a Bahamanian island either in the early morning or at dusk. The scene is peaceful, with no wind blowing, which leaves the palm fronds hanging and the white sailboat gently floating in the natural harbor. This painting, an oil sketch on paperboard, was likely completed while Bierstadt and his wife Rosalie were in Nassau in the Bahamas. Rosalie suffered from tuberculosis, and warmer weather helped her condition, so she and Bierstadt would regularly travel to the Bahamas in the winter months between 1877 and the mid-1880s. While there, Bierstadt would make sketches, like this one, of the islands.
Although Bierstadt’s paintings of the Bahamas were received with mixed reviews in his day, such pictures may provide a tranquil, and somewhat surprising, counterpoint to his epic landscapes, such as Echo Lake, Franconia Mountains, New Hampshire, which is also in this museum.
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