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 :. | A Rocky Mountain Sheep, Ovis, Montana | Sunset over the River | Valley of the Yosemite | The Oregon Trail | Bierstadt Albert Sacramento River Valley |
Related Artists:CHANGENET, Jean
1818-1867,American painter. After an unsuccessful attempt to obtain an appointment at West Point Military Academy, he turned to an artistic career. He quickly earned recognition at the annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design, New York, to which he was elected an associate member in 1839, with subjects taken from James Fenimore Cooper, such as the Turkey Shoot (c. 1837; Richmond, VA Mus. F.A.), and from Washington Irving, The Devil and Tom Walker (1838; Richard P. W. Williams priv. col.). Anton Melbye
(1818-1875) was a Danish painter. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and was a private student of Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg. He achieved international success as a marine artist, travelling widely especially to Morocco and Turkey.
His paintings are realistic, often enhanced with dramatic light and weather effects as in Eddystone Lighthouse (1846) which earned him the Thorvaldsen Medal. He was also influenced by Camille Corot whom he met in Paris where he lived from 1847 to 1858.
While in Paris he met Napoleon III who ordered a large painting from him.