• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2142

    Fine American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

    5 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 108

    Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)

    Study for "The Landing of Columbus"

    Price Realised  


    Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)
    Study for "The Landing of Columbus"
    signed with conjoined initials 'ABierstadt' (lower left)
    oil on paper laid down on board
    13¾ x 19 in. (35 x 48.3 cm.)
    Painted in 1892.

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    Albert Bierstadt painted three large-scale versions of the present study between 1892 and 1893. The final work was to serve as the artist's entry to the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' landing in America. Bierstadt traveled to Spain, Italy and Portugal creating studies for the final composition, and later in the year to Watling Island in the Bahamas where Columbus was believed to have landed. The present work was likely executed there.

    The largest and final of these compositions, which was given by the artist as a gift to his second wife Mary Hicks Stewart and was his largest known painting, was destroyed in a fire at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1960. The other two versions of The Landing of Columbus are currently in the collections of the City of Plainfield, New Jersey, and The Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey.


    Kennedy Galleries, New York.
    Mr. and Mrs. Fred Bentley Sr. and Mr. and Mrs. Alan Sellars, Marietta, Georgia.
    Sotheby's, New York, 21 October 1983, lot 50.
    Christie's, New York, 26 May 1988, lot 56.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note there is additional literature:
    Montclair Art Museum, Primal Visions: Albert Bierstadt "Discovers" America, exhibition catalogue, Montclair, New Jersey, 2002, p. 21, illustrated.


    Kennedy Galleries, Inc., The Kennedy Quarterly, New York, March 1967, vol. VII, No. 1, p. 36, illustrated.


    Marietta, Georgia, Kennesaw Junior College, American Masters Exhibition, 1972.
    Atlanta, Georgia, High Museum of Art, 1973, on loan.
    Jacksonville, Florida, Cummer Gallery of Art, American Paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Fred D. Bentley and Mr. and Mrs. J. Alan Sellars, March-April, 1975, no. 28.