Albert Biertstadt created small butterfly compositions like the present work as gifts for visitors to his studio: “This is how he made them. We all clustered about the table and he took out a palette, a knife and some large slips of cartridge paper. Two or three daubs of pigment on the paper, a quick fold, and holding it still folded against a pane of glass, he made two or three strokes of that wizard-like palette knife on the outside, and hey, presto! a wonderful Brazilian butterfly or moth, even the veining on the wings complete! A pencil touch added the antennae, that artist's autograph was added to the corner, and now we each of us own a painting by Bierstadt” (as quoted in Gordon Hendricks, Albert Bierstadt: Painter of the American West, 1974, p. 302-03).