Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Cloud Study, Moonlight

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Cloud Study, Moonlight
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Albert Bierstadt


Cloud Study, Moonlight

Creation Date

ca. 1860

Medium & Support

oil on paper


12 3/4 in. x 9 5/16 in. (32.39 cm x 23.65 cm)

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, Florence C. Quinby Fund, in memory of Henry Cole Quinby, Honorary Degree, 1916

Accession Number



Public Domain

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Although he is best known for his large and operatic studio work, Bierstadt made unpretentious plein air sketches throughout his career. Rendered in the medium of oil on paper, Bowdoin’s Cloud Study, Moonlight reveals Bierstadt’s ability to dispense with drama and create modest compositions of pleasing naturalism. For Bierstadt, such sketches were intended primarily as records of his observations and as visual aids for larger studio works; personal in nature, they were not exhibited widely, nor were they meant to stand alongside the artist’s major oils.

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