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 :. | The Last of the Buffalo | Seal Rock, California | Fishing Boats at Capri | Albert Bierstadt Call Of The Wild | Deer at Sunset |
Related Artists:Gerard Dou
was a Dutch Golden Age painter, whose small, highly-polished paintings are typical of the Leiden fijnschilders. He specialised in genre scenes and is noted for his trompe l'oeil "niche" paintings and candlelit night-scenes with strong chiaroscuro. His first instructor in drawing and design was Bartholomew Dolendo, an engraver; and he afterwards learned the art of glass-painting under Peter Kouwhoorn. At the age of 15 he became a pupil of Rembrandt, with whom he continued for three years. From the great master of the Dutch school he acquired his skill in coloring, and in the more subtle effects of chiaroscuro; and the style of Rembrandt is reflected in several of his earlier pictures, notably in a portrait of himself at the age of 22, in the Bridge-water House gallery, and in the "Blind Tobit going to meet his Son", at Wardour Castle. At a comparatively early point in his career, however, he had formed a manner of his own distinct from, and indeed in some respects antagonistic to, that of his master. Gifted with unusual clearness of vision and precision of manipulation, he cultivated a minute and elaborate style of treatment; and probably few painters ever spent more time and pains on all the details of their pictures down to the most trivial. He is said to have spent five days in painting a hand; and his work was so fine that he found it necessary to manufacture his own brushes. Notwithstanding the minuteness of his touch, however, the general effect was harmonious and free from stiffness, and his color was always admirably fresh and transparent. He was fond of representing subjects in lantern or candle light, the effects of which he reproduced with a fidelity and skill which no other master has equaled. He frequently painted by the aid of a concave mirror, and to obtain exactness looked at his subject through a frame crossed with squares of silk thread. His practice as a portrait painter, which was at first considerable, gradually declined, sitters being unwilling to give him the time that he deemed necessary. His pictures were always small in size, and represented chiefly subjects in still life. Upwards of 200 are attributed to him, and specimens are to be found in most of the great public collections of Europe. His chef-d'oeuvre is generally considered to be The dropsical woman, 1663, and The Dutch Housewife, 1650, both in the Louvre. The Evening School, in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, is the best example of the candlelight scenes in which he excelled. In the National Gallery, London, favorable specimens are to be seen in the Poulterer's Shop, villelm melbye
The brother of Anton and Fritz, both Danish artists, Vilhelm Knut Frederik Melbye was born in Denmark and would finish his career as a Professor in the Copenhagen Academy, appointed in 1880. His years between would see him work out of the important venues of Dusseldorf, Venice, Paris and London.
His paintings may almost be used as a travelogue to his career. Working in the Netherlands and paintings scenes of the North and Black Seas through the late 1840s, he exhibited regularly at Charlottenborg in Copenhagen. Melbye lands in London by the early 1850s and ??anglicizes?? his signature to Wilhelm Melby. Paintings by him of Gibraltar and the Italian Mediterranean are in prominent public collections with dates from 1854-62. British subjects reappear in the 1860s, and in 1878, he exhibits at the Parisian Academies. Some later works are signed with initials or his given name once again.
The heart of all his paintings is his obvious attraction to the coastal harbors and marine settings of Europe. They dominate his output, and are compositions full of realistic and dramatic elements emphasizing humanity??s maritime efforts. Cool light, layered shadows and a talent for translating visual depth are noticeable elements in his paintings.