Plainfield, NJ — The Plainfield Arts Council today applauded Superior Court Judge Robert Mega’s ruling that the City of Plainfield cannot sell two Albert Bierstadt paintings left to the residents of Plainfield in a 1919 bequest.

“These paintings were left to Plainfield residents to view and enjoy, and we applaud the decision that says they must remain under the ownership of the residents,” said Arne Aakre, president of the Plainfield Arts Council. “Bierstadt is recognized as one of the greatest landscape artists in history.  We in Plainfield are privileged to have these masterpieces as part of our legacy as a city with a rich history of celebrating the arts.

The two paintings -- 'Autumn in the Sierras'' (1873) and ''The Landing of Columbus at San Salvador'' (1893) -- share the theme of New World discovery, exhibiting in one case the artist's gift for landscape and in the other his approach to history painting.

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“The Plainfield Arts Council views these paintings as representations of Bierstadt’s technique and appreciates them as art,” said Aakre.  “We understand the concerns when “The Landing of Columbus at San Salvador” is viewed through today’s more socially conscious eyes but we do not believe it detracts from Bierstadt’s talent and the ability to appreciate these paintings in that context.”

The Plainfield Arts Council is a 501 (c) 3 organization established to promote and celebrate the arts in Plainfield, highlighting the city’s variety, multiculturalism, and rich historical legacy; and to support community growth and engagement through arts and culture.

 For more information, visit or visit the Council’s Facebook page.