IN 1872, YELLOWSTONE BECAME THE FIRST OF AMERICA’S 63 NATIONAL PARKS. TO CELEBRATE THE SESQUICENTENNIAL, WE ROUNDED UP RELATED ARTWORKS FROM THE HERITAGE ARCHIVES.
By Rhonda Reinhart
GRAFTON TYLER BROWN first traveled to Yellowstone National Park in 1886, and it soon became one of his most popular subjects. His 1891 painting Castle Geyser, Yellowstone National Park realized $81,250 in a May 2016 Heritage auction.
THOMAS MORAN, who is credited as being the first American painter to capture the majesty of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, painted Mountain Lion in Grand Canyon (Lair of the Mountain Lion) in 1914, five years before Grand Canyon National Park received its national park designation. The oil-on-canvas sold for $612,500 in a May 2017 Heritage auction.
BORN IN SWEDEN, Birger Sandzén studied in Stockholm and later in Paris, but he is best known for his vibrant American landscape scenes. Aspens, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, which he painted in 1930, realized $225,000 in a May 2021 Heritage auction.
THE NATURAL WONDERS of America’s national parks remained a source of inspiration throughout Ansel Adams’ life. The photographer and environmentalist was especially fond of Yosemite National Park, where, shortly after his 1984 death, an 11,760-foot peak was named Mount Ansel Adams. His Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, 1937 sold in a June 2018 Heritage auction for $47,500.
JOHN FORD CLYMER’S Glacier National Park – which realized $47,800 in an October 2009 Heritage auction – appeared on the July 30, 1960, cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Glacier became the country’s 10th national park 50 years earlier, in 1910.
A MASTER OF COLOR, Austria-born Franz Bischoff was a celebrated ceramic decorator before turning to landscape painting later in his career. Though his adopted home state of California inspired much of his work, the mountains of Utah also captured his heart and canvas. The Watchman, Zion National Park, Utah, which he painted circa 1925, sold in a November 2014 Heritage auction for $37,500.
OFTEN CALLED Texas’ Gift to the Nation, Big Bend National Park was established in 1944. Thirty-three years later, José Vives-Atsara presented the nation his own gift when he painted Afternoon in the Heart of the Chisos Mountains – Big Bend National Park, Texas, 1977. The oil-on-canvas realized $15,000 in a May 2018 Heritage auction.
RHONDA REINHART is editor of Intelligent Collector.