Albert Bierstadt (1830 - 1902) was a German/American painter best known for his romantic landscapes. He was very productive and very financially successful during his time. One of his commissioned paintings brought him $25,000 over 150 years ago. A lot of money now, an astronomical sum for a painter in the 19th century, I'm sure!
Bierstadt's popularity was well-justified. His beautiful landscapes (amazing detail!) manipulate light using "luminism". His paintings of beautiful places like Yosemite, Yellowstone, California, etc. often use strong contrasts of light and darkness of chiaroscuro. Though I personally think it fits Bierstadt's work and his European influences... Bierstadt uses this effect to create romance and grandeur in his landscapes. His work fueled the imagination of many Americans who settled in the West, and his paintings helped Easterners to appreciate the lands that later became a part of the U.S. National Park system.
Bierstadt belonged to the Hudson River School of painters, and worked in many mediums, including oils, pastels, watercolors, gouache, charcoal, and inks. His productive output, popularity, and status both now and then have caused his works to appear in over 100 museums across the United States. Bierstadt is one of my personal favorite artists. His paintings of Yosemite are inspirational and kick ass.