Bierstadt was an important champion of the Yellowstone region. He also brought attention to the areas that would become Yosemite and Rocky Mountain national parks.
Bierstadt first traveled to Yellowstone in 1881, nearly a decade after the region was set aside as the world’s first national park. The park—especially its geysers—proved to be a fresh and exciting subject for the artist. Bierstadt loaned several Yellowstone paintings to President Chester A. Arthur for his library in the White House, including Geysers in Yellowstone and Yellowstone Falls. Passing by the paintings every day inspired Arthur to visit the park in 1883.
Bierstadt traveled to Yosemite in 1863. Bierstadt’s paintings recorded and celebrated the grand landscape and its wildlife as deserving of preservation, and may have influenced Congress to protect Yosemite.