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 :. | Indian Encampment, Shoshone Village - in a riparian forest, western United States | Albert Bierstadt's art | Lake Louise | The Mountain Brook | The Wolf River |
Related Artists:Eugene Boudin
French landscape painter. Encouraged at an early age by Jean-Francois Millet, Boudin became a strong advocate of painting directly from nature. In 1874 he exhibited with the Impressionists, but, unlike those painters, he was not an innovator, and from 1863 to 1897 he exhibited regularly in the official Salon. His favourite subjects were beach scenes and seascapes, which show remarkable sensitivity to effects of atmosphere; on the backs of his paintings he recorded the weather, light, and time of day. His works link the careful naturalism of the mid 19th century and the brilliant colours and fluid brushwork of Impressionism.Francois Bonvin
Francois Bonvin Location
Bonvin was born in humble circumstances in Paris, the son of a police officer and a seamstress. When he was four years old his mother died of tuberculosis and young Francois was left in the care of an old woman who underfed him. Soon his father married another seamstress and brought the child back into the household. Nine additional children were born, putting a strain on the familys resources, and to make matters worse his stepmother took to abusing and undernourishing Francois.
The young Bonvin started drawing at an early age. His potential was recognized by a friend of the family, who paid for him to attend a school for drawing instruction at age eleven. This instruction ended after two years, when his father apprenticed him to a printer, and Bonvin was to remain mostly self-taught as an artist. He spent his free time at the Louvre where he especially appreciated the Dutch old masters. Bonvin married a laundress at the age of twenty, at about the same time that he secured a job at the headquarters of the Paris police. It was during this period in his life that he also contracted an illness which would trouble him for the rest of his life.
Bonvin exhibited three paintings in the Salon of 1849, where he was awarded a third-class medal. He exhibited in the Salon of 1850 with Courbet, and won recognition as a leading realist, painting truthfully the lives of the poor which he knew at first hand. His paintings were well received by critics and by the public. Although his work had elements in common with Courbets, his modestly scaled paintings were not seen as revolutionary. He was awarded the Legion d honneur in 1870.
His subjects were still life and the everyday activities of common people, painted in a style that is reminiscent of Pieter de Hooch and Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin. It is the latter who is especially recalled by Bonvins delicate luminosity.
In 1881 he underwent an operation which did not restore him to health, and he became blind. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held in 1886. He died at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1887. Atkinson Grimshaw
Atkinson Grimshaw Gallery
Grimshaw's primary influence was the Pre-Raphaelites. True to the Pre-Raphaelite style, he put forth landscapes of accurate color and lighting, and vivid detail. He often painted landscapes that typified seasons or a type of weather; city and suburban street scenes and moonlit views of the docks in London, Leeds, Liverpool, and Glasgow also figured largely in his art. By applying his skill in lighting effects, and unusually careful attention to detail, he was often capable of intricately describing a scene, while strongly conveying its mood. His "paintings of dampened gas-lit streets and misty waterfronts conveyed an eerie warmth as well as alienation in the urban scene."
Dulce Domum (1855), on whose reverse Grimshaw wrote, "mostly painted under great difficulties," captures the music portrayed in the piano player, entices the eye to meander through the richly decorated room, and to consider the still and silent young lady who is meanwhile listening. Grimshaw painted more interior scenes, especially in the 1870s, when he worked until the influence of James Tissot and the Aesthetic Movement.
On Hampstead Hill is considered one of Grimshaw's finest, exemplifying his skill with a variety of light sources, in capturing the mood of the passing of twilight into the onset of night. In his later career this use of twilight, and urban scenes under yellow light were highly popular, especially with his middle-class patrons.
His later work included imagined scenes from the Greek and Roman empires, and he also painted literary subjects from Longfellow and Tennyson ?? pictures including Elaine and The Lady of Shalott. (Grimshaw named all of his children after characters in Tennyson's poems.)
In the 1880s, Grimshaw maintained a London studio in Chelsea, not far from the comparable facility of James Abbott McNeill Whistler. After visiting Grimshaw, Whistler remarked that "I considered myself the inventor of Nocturnes until I saw Grimmy's moonlit pictures." Unlike Whistler's Impressionistic night scenes, however, Grimshaw worked in a realistic vein: "sharply focused, almost photographic," his pictures innovated in applying the tradition of rural moonlight images to the Victorian city, recording "the rain and mist, the puddles and smoky fog of late Victorian industrial England with great poetry."
Some artists of Grimshaw's period, both famous and obscure, generated rich documentary records; Vincent Van Gogh and James Smetham are good examples. Others, like Edward Pritchett, left nothing. Grimshaw left behind him no letters, journals, or papers; scholars and critics have little material on which to base their understanding of his life and career.
Grimshaw died 13 October 1893, and is buried in Woodhouse cemetery, Leeds. His reputation rested, and his legacy is probably based on, his townscapes. The second half of the twentieth century saw a major revival of interest in Grimshaw's work, with several important exhibits of his canon.