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In the summer of 1899, Bierstadt began a trip across Canada to see some “wild places in the mountains.” Leaving Banff, Alberta due to fires, he decided to go directly to the west coast where he boarded the side-wheel steamer, Ancon, and headed for Alaska. On August 28, 1889, Ancon ran aground in Loring Bay, and the passengers were put on shore at a fishing camp until rescued. Several weeks later Bierstadt wrote from Vancouver, British Columbia to his wife, Rosalie, describing the wreck of the Ancon as a ‘narrow escape’ and [indicated] that he and the other passengers spent five days living in Indian huts and salmon canneries. “I was busy all the time and have 60 studies in color and two books full of drawings of Alaska.” [Nancy Anderson and Linda Ferber, Albert Bierstadt: Art and Enterprise, exhi. cat., Brooklyn, 1991]. The painting North Coast Indians was probably a result of Bierstadt’s experience from this fishing camp stay.

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