German-born American Hudson River School Painter, 1830-1902
Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany. His family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1833. He studied painting with the members of the D??sseldorf School in D??sseldorf, 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 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 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 is 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
Nonetheless, his paintings remain popular. He was a prolific artist, having completed over 500 (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. Related Paintings of Albert Bierstadt :. | Evening on the Prairie | Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite | Among the Bernese Alps | On_the_Sac | A Rustic Mill (Farm |
Related Artists:MOLA, Pier Francesco
Italian Baroque Era Painter, 1612-1666
Painter and draughtsman, son of (1) Giovanni Battista Mola. His most characteristic works are small, intensely romantic scenes from mythology, the Bible, and from works by the poet Torquato Tasso, set in landscapes inspired by Venetian art. Yet he also received important public commissions for frescoes and altarpieces, and in his mature work he achieved an impressive synthesis of 17th-century Roman gran maniera painting with the stronger chiaroscuro and richer palette of the 16th-century Venetian style. He was a prolific and versatile draughtsman, who drew for pleasure as well as in preparation for commissions; he was also a witty caricaturist, who mocked himself and his friends as much as more typical targetsKitagawa Utamaro
Kitagawa Utamaro Gallery
Biographical details for Utamaro are extremely limited, and each reference gives a substantially different account.
Various accounts claim that he was born in either Edo (present-day Tokyo), Kyoto, or Osaka (the three main cities of Japan), or a provincial town (no one is sure exactly which one) in around 1753; the exact date is also uncertain. Another long-standing tradition has is that he was born in Yoshiwara, the courtesan district of Edo, the son of a tea-house owner, but there is no evidence of this. His original name was Kitagawa Ichitaro.
It is generally agreed that he became a pupil of the painter Toriyama Sekien while he was still a child, and there are many authorities who believe that Utamaro was his son as well. He lived in Sekien's house while he was growing up, and the relationship continued until Sekien's death in 1788.
Sekien was originally trained in the aristocratic Kan?? school of painting, but in middle age he started to lean toward the popular (or ukiyo-e) school. Sekien is known to have had a number of other pupils, none of any distinction.
Utamaro, in common with other Japanese of the time, changed his name as he became mature, and also took the name Ichitaro Yusuke as he became older. He apparently also married, although little is known about his wife, and he apparently had no children.
His first major professional artistic work, at about the age of 22, in 1775, seems to have been the cover for a Kabuki playbook, under the g?? of Toyoaki. He then produced a number of actor and warrior prints, along with theatre programmes, and other such material. From the spring of 1781, he switched his g?? to Utamaro, and started painting and designing fairly forgettable woodblock prints of women.
At some point in the middle 1780s, probably 1783, he went to live with the young rising publisher Tsutaya J??zabur??, with whom he apparently lived for about 5 years. He seems to have become a principal artist for the Tsutaya firm. His output of prints for the next few years was sporadic, as he produced mostly illustrations for books of kyoka, literally 'crazy verse', a parody of the classical waka form. He seems to have produced nothing at all that has survived in the period 1790-1792.
In about 1791 Utamaro gave up designing prints for books and concentrated on making half-length single portraits of women, rather than the prints of women in groups favoured by other ukiyo-e artists. In 1793 he achieved recognition as an artist, and his semi-exclusive arrangement with the publisher Tsutaya J??zabur?? was terminated. He then went on to produce a number of very famous series, all featuring women of the Yoshiwara district.
Over the years, he also occupied himself with a number of volumes of nature studies and shunga, or erotica. In 1797, Tsutaya J??zabur?? died, and Utamaro apparently was very upset by the loss of his long-time friend and supporter. Some commentators feel that his work after this never reached the heights it did before.
In 1804, at the height of his success, he ran into legal trouble by publishing prints related to a banned historical novel. The prints, entitled Hideyoshi and his 5 Concubines, depicted the military ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi's wife and concubines; Consequently, he was accused of insulting Hideyoshi's dignity. He was sentenced to be handcuffed for 50 days (some accounts say he was briefly imprisoned). According to some sources, the experience crushed him emotionally and ended his career as an artist.
He died two years later, on the 20th day of the 9th month, 1806, aged about fifty-three, in Edo.
Charles Gifford Dyer