In 1887, the Canadian Pacific Railway offered him a free pass to explore sites he longed paint, and in 1889 Bierstadt traveled through Canada with the idea of making paintings of Canadian scenery for the high-ranking officers of the railway. He arrived in Banff by August, but found the stunning mountain views clouded by the smoke of a forest fire and decided to head to the Pacific coast, where on August 28, the steamer Ancon, upon which he traveled, was grounded in Loring, Alaska.
More information about this painting...
Bierstadt’s remarkable depiction of the abandoned ship partially submerged in Naha Bay is now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Northwest Indian Canoes in the Inland Passage was created during the artist’s 1889 exploration of Canada, Alaska and the Washington Territory, and reveals both the tranquility and wonder felt upon experiencing the raw beauty of the untamed landscape. Painting out-of-doors in oil on paper, and then finishing up in the studio, allowed Bierstadt to render a sense of atmosphere in the waning light, as a pair of canoes glide through the placid water, with fog blanketing the mountains beyond. In addition to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, examples of Bierstadt’s paintings from this period of Alaskan exploration can be found in Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
Private collection, New England, until ca. 1950
Descended to private collection, San Rafael, California, to 2002
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 33756, June 2002
To private collection, Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts, September 2003 to present
1). (verso of board in pencil) 42
2). (verso of board in pencil) Bierstadt
Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. 33756