Albert Bierstadt was the first artist to take as his subject the vastness of the mountains of western North America. Born in Germany, Bierstadt emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1832. After his early works were exhibited in Boston, he traveled (1853) to Germany to study painting for three years at the Dusseldorf Akademie. In 1857 he returned to the United States and painted throughout the northeast; in 1858 he made the first of several trips to the West. From sketches and oil studies done from nature, he painted in his New York studio the huge, carefully detailed panoramic views of Western scenery that made him one of America's most admired painters in the 1860s and '70s.