Gilcrease Museum and The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma Team Up

The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma

As one of the most highly anticipated exhibitions on the 2018 calendar, Gilcrease Museum is excited to team up with The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma for Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West to highlight the impact Bierstadt’s work had on the conservation movement. While Bierstadt is most widely known for his beautiful landscape paintings of the American West, this exhibition examines him as a painter of history and shows how his work approached the conservation issues of his day.

Through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma, Gilcrease Museum invites visitors to take a deeper look at Bierstadt’s work to discover the environmental factors in his paintings that are still relevant to Oklahoma’s prairies today.

“We are very excited about this new partnership with Gilcrease that will highlight the intimate intersection between nature and art,” said Mike Fuhr, state director of The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma. “The natural world has been inspiring artists for centuries while also stirring conservation efforts around some of our most iconic landscapes.”

Critical to Bierstadt’s paintings is his treatment of bison and Native Americans — key subjects of his art. When viewed as a painter of history, it is easy to see the moral messages conveyed in his work: He aimed to preserve the dignity of native people, to reveal the mass killing of American bison and to inspire empathy for the dying species, particularly in Yellowstone National Park.

“Conservation is such an important topic, and Bierstadt is one of the founders, a little known fact,” said Alison Rossi, Gilcrease director of learning and community engagement. “Additionally, this exhibition shows the important role art plays in shaping perceptions of our environment. In the coming months, this partnership will result in special lectures, panel discussions and family activities for our members and visitors alike.”

Visit our website and stay connected through our weekly e-blast for upcoming programs and lectures in partnership with The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma.

Quick Facts

  • TNC was created in 1951 to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
  • TNC protects 11 preserves across Oklahoma.
  • TNC purchased the 32,000-acre Barnard Ranch in Oklahoma’s Osage Hills in 1989 and established the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.
  • The 39,650-acre Preserve is the largest protected remnant of tallgrass prairie left on Earth.
  • More than three dozen research projects are active on the preserve, and 180 publications in scientific journals have been produced.

Learn more at

Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West is on view through Feb. 10, 2018.