Mount Adams is a famous natural location in the United States, believed to be the second-highest mountain in Washington, after Mount Rainier. The mountain was named after US President, John Adams but is is also known by the alternative titles of Pahto or Klickitat by local tribes. Bierstadt is known most for covering certain regions of the US within his work, but in actual fact he would travel to much more varied selections of the wilderness. He saw much of the country during his lifetime and in this example he was focused within Washington for a series of paintings whilst travelling around some of its best known spots. One of the main reasons for this artist's success was in how he appealed to those unable to travel, but who had a great passion to do so. He tapped into this market brilliantly and always had a strong business and marketing sense. He took in a variety of influences, artistically, but was conscious to produce work that would sell.
One element of his work that was purely for his own interest was the use of Native Indians, who featured in many of his paintings. In Mount Adams, Washington we find a family in a natural setting, allowing westerners to learn more about their culture. It can be said that their inclusion added a sense of the exotic for many, added to by the stunning backdrop of the mountain behind them. Bierstadt adds cloud around the mountain, probably using some artistic license to increase the excitement and beauty of this incredible scene. He then details green trees down the right hand side before placing the Native Indians in the very centre, providing a sense of scale between themselves and the huge Mount Adams in the very far distance.
Albert Bierstadt was by no means the only significant American landscape painter from the 19th century, in fact there were many more besides. One of particular note was Frederic Edwin Church who contributed the likes of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, Twilight in the Wilderness and The Icebergs. He played a similarly important role in both educating the masses of the beauty of the American countryside, whilst also encouraging an international audience to start to give a stronger focus to artists from this relatively young nation. That then laid the foundations for all who followed, even though they would cover a plethora of different styles and movements as we moved into the 20th and 21st century. Today, one can put forward New York as a centre of the art world, which is perhaps the best example of how the focus of western art has changed over the past two centuries.