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Past Exhibitions
Albert Bierstadt, Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Trail, ca. 1873. Oil on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Mrs. Vincenzo Ardenghi

Yosemite: Exploring the Incomparable Valley

  • October 7, 2016–December 31, 2016
Commemorating the 150th anniversary of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History and the 100th anniversary of the creation of America’s National Park Service, Yosemite: Exploring the Incomparable Valley considers one of the country’s most celebrated natural landmarks through the fields of both art and science. Beginning in 1855, artists, scientists, and scenic tourists alike traveled to the Yosemite Valley in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains to experience its majestic landscape in person. President Abraham Lincoln extended the first protection to the region in 1864, preserving the valley, with its sheer granite cliffs and soaring waterfalls, as well as the neighboring Mariposa Grove of ancient sequoias. Taking as its starting point Albert Bierstadt’s large-scale Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Trail (ca. 1873), a cornerstone of the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, the exhibition shows how Americans found inspiration in the western landscape and also sought to understand its marvels—through paintings, prints, and photographs as well as the botanical and geological specimens that early scientists brought back from their expeditions. Together, these objects attest to the enduring impact of Yosemite, whose awe-inspiring scale and beauty have fascinated generations of Americans and inspired action to conserve its wonders.
Exhibition organized by Mark D. Mitchell, the Holcombe T. Green Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture. Made possible by the Art Gallery Exhibition and Publication Fund and the Friends of American Arts at Yale Exhibition Fund.