Conservation of A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie, by Albert Bierstadt

The Brooklyn Museum will be conducting public preservation on A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie by Albert Bierstadt from June 7 to July 16, 2017.

Conservation of A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie, by Albert Bierstadt

Park Slope

Visitors to the Brooklyn Museum will have the opportunity to observe Museum conservators conducting preservation efforts on the collection masterpiece A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie (1866), by Albert Bierstadt. Conservation will take place in view of the public on Wednesdays through Sundays from June 7 through July 16, 2017, from 11 am to 1 pm and 2 to 4 pm in the 5th Floor Rotunda gallery.

"The conservation of this masterpiece is taking place in the Rotunda partly due to the object's large size, which limits its maneuverability," states Lisa Bruno, Carol Lee Shen Chief Conservator. "However, this provides a unique opportunity to share with the public an aspect of preservation that is usually done behind the scenes. We're looking forward to this project's transparency and to showcase the importance of preservation to the public."

The painting will return to the American Art galleries once conservation is complete. These conservation efforts are in preparation for an upcoming exhibition of the Museum's American landscapes, organized and curated by Kim Orcutt, Brooklyn Museum Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art. The exhibition will travel to multiple venues before ending its tour at the Museum.

Lauren Bradley, Associate Paintings Conservator, and Jessica Ford, Assistant Paintings Conservator, will focus on removing surface dirt and deposition from the painting and its gesso and gilt frame. The painting received its last extensive treatment in 1976.

Albert Bierstadt (American, born Germany, 1830-1902). A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie, 1866. Oil on canvas, 83 x 142 ¼ in. (210.8 x 361.3 cm). Visit for updates on conservation hours.


About A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie

Composed from on-the-spot sketches made in Colorado during the artist's second expedition west in 1863, the painting is intended to convey the sublimity of the western frontier. Its grand scale and panoramic scope offer an immersive experience. A group of Native Americans hunting deer draws viewers into the foreground, while the background is animated by rushing water, extreme contrasts of cast light and shadow, and mountains soaring into breaking clouds. Bierstadt named the highest peak, Mount Rosalie (now Mount Evans), after the wife of his travel companion, the famed author and explorer Fitz Hugh Ludlow. Rosalie Ludlow divorced her husband and married the artist a few months after the painting's debut. The canvas drew admiring crowds when it toured the United States and London in the late 1860s, and it was purchased by an English collector by 1866. It was then thought to be lost for nearly a century before its rediscovery in 1974.


The Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. Its roots extend back to 1823 and the founding of the Brooklyn Apprentices’ Library to educate young tradesmen (Walt Whitman would later become one of its librarians). First established in Brooklyn Heights, the Library moved into rooms in the Brooklyn Lyceum building on Washington Street in 1841. Two years later, the Lyceum and the Library combined to form the Brooklyn Institute, offering important early exhibitions of painting and sculpture in addition to lectures on subjects as diverse as geology and abolitionism. The Institute announced plans to establish a permanent gallery of fine arts in 1846.

By 1890, Institute leaders had determined to build a grand new structure devoted jointly to the fine arts and the natural sciences; the reorganized Institute was then renamed the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, the forebear of the Brooklyn Museum. The original design of the new museum building, from 1893, by the architects McKim, Mead & White was meant to house myriad educational and research activities in addition to the growing collections. The ambitious building plan, had it been fully realized, would have produced the largest single museum structure in the world. Indeed, so broad was the institution’s overall mandate that the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum would remain divisions of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences until they became independent entities in the 1970s.