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Albert Bierstadt
"Albert Bierstadt" by Napoleon Sarony
Born January 8, 1830(1830-01-08)
Solingen, Germany
Died February 18, 1902 (aged 72)
New York City, New York
Nationality German-American
Field painting
Training Düsseldorf School
Movement Hudson River School
Works
The Rocky Mountains: Lander's Peak, 1863
Influenced William Bliss Baker

Albert Bierstadt (January 8, 1830 – February 18, 1902) was a German-American painter best known for his lush, sweeping landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century.

Bierstadt was part of the Hudson River School, not an institution but rather an informal group of like-minded painters. The Hudson River School style involved carefully detailed paintings with romantic, almost glowing lighting, sometimes called luminism. An important interpreter of the western landscape, Bierstadt, along with Thomas Moran, is also grouped with the Rocky Mountain School.[1]

Contents

Biography

Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany. His family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1833. He studied painting with the members of the Düsseldorf School in Düsseldorf, Germany from 1853 to 1857. He taught drawing and painting briefly before devoting himself to painting.

Bierstadt began making paintings in New England and upstate New York. In 1859, he traveled westward in the company of Frederick W. Lander, a land surveyor for the U.S. government, returning with sketches that would result in numerous finished paintings. In 1863 he returned west again, in the company of the author Fitz Hugh Ludlow, whose wife he would later marry. He continued to visit the American West throughout his career.

Though his paintings sold for princely sums, Bierstadt was not held in particularly high esteem by critics of his day. His use of uncommonly large canvases was thought to be an egotistical indulgence, as his paintings would invariably dwarf those of his contemporaries when they were displayed together. The romanticism evident in his choices of subject[2] and in his use of light was felt to be excessive by contemporary critics. His paintings emphasized atmospheric elements like fog, clouds and mist to accentuate and complement the feel of his work. Bierstadt sometimes changed details of the landscape to inspire awe. The colors he used are also not always true. He painted what he believed was the way things should be: water is ultramarine, vegetation is lush and green, etc. The shift from foreground to background was very dramatic and there was almost no middle distance.[citation needed]

Nonetheless, his paintings remain popular. He was a prolific artist, having completed over 500 [3] (possibly as many as 4000) paintings during his lifetime, most of which have survived. Many are scattered through museums around the United States. Prints are available commercially for many. Original paintings themselves do occasionally come up for sale, at ever increasing prices.

Existing work

Storm in the Rocky Mountains (Mount Rosa), 1886
Albert Bierstadt's Looking Down Yosemite Valley (1865)
A.Bierstadt's 1858 painting: "Gosnold at Cuttyhunk, 1602"

Legacy

  • In 1998, the United States Postal Service issued a set of 20 commemorative stamps entitled "Four Centuries of American Art", one of which featured Albert Bierstadt's The Last of the Buffalo. [4] In 2008, the USPS issued a commemorative stamp in its "American Treasures" series featuring Bierstadt's 1864 painting "Valley of the Yosemite." [5]

Footnotes

See also

References

  • Anderson, Nancy K. et al. Albert Bierstadt, Art & Enterprise, Hudson Hills Press, Inc.: New York, New York, 1990.
  • Hendricks, Gordon. Albert Bierstadt, Painter of the American West, Harrison House/Harry N. Abrams, Inc.: New York, New York 1988.

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ALBERT BIERSTADT (1830-1902), American landscape painter, was born in Solingen, Westphalia, Germany., on the 7th of January 1830, and was taken to the United States when about a year old. In 1853-1856 he studied painting at Dusseldorf. His pictures of the western part of the United States, and particularly the Rocky Mountains, made him widely popular. His "Estes Park, Colorado," is in the collection of the earl of Dunraven; his "Sierra Nevada" (1878) is in the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, and "The Valley of Yosemite" in the James Lenox collection in New York. He received many German and Austrian decorations, and was a chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. He rendered panoramic views with a certain ability, though his work was rather topographically correct and impressive than artistic in conception and execution. He was a member of the National Academy of Design of New York, and is represented by two historical paintings, "The Discovery of the Hudson River," and "The Settlement of California," in the Capitol in Washington, D.C. He died in New York City on the ,8th of February 1902.


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