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 :. | Yosemite Valley | Sunrise, Yosemite Valley | The Wetterhorn | The Grand Tetons | Yosemite Valley |
Related Artists:William Smith Jewett
William Smith Jewett Galleries George Richmond
English Painter, 1809-1896
Painter, draughtsman and engraver. He was a precocious draughtsman. In 1824 he entered the Royal Academy, London, the same year as Edward Calvert, who was a part-time student of Joseph Severn. Richmond first exhibited at the Academy in 1825 and that year met William Blake in the Highgate house of John Linnell (ii). Like his lifelong friend Samuel Palmer, Richmond fell under Blake's spell, comparing him to the Prophet Isaiah and forming close friendships with Blake's other disciples, including Calvert. He visited Palmer at Shoreham, chiefly in the summer of 1827, and both he and Calvert became prominent members of Palmer's band of ANCIENTS, who frequented the Kent village in the late 1820s and early 1830s. The tempera panel Abel the Shepherd (1826; London, Tate) is typical of Richmond's early paintings, which reflect the pronounced influence of both Blake and Palmer. They are painted in an archaic style and include Christian and literary themes and high-minded if obscure genre subjects such as the Eve of Separation (1830; Oxford, Ashmolean). The human figure was central to these pictures as it was not for Palmer, who expressed sentiment through landscape motifs. Richmond was also active as a draughtsman and miniaturist during this period; his Christ-like head of Palmer, in watercolour and gouache on vellum (London, N.P.G.), dates from 1829. Eduard Gaertner
Eduard Gaertner Gallery
German painter and lithographer. His father was a master carpenter and his mother a gold embroiderer, and he had his first drawing lessons in 1811 in Kassel, where he had gone with his mother after the occupation of Berlin. After returning to Berlin he became in 1814 an apprentice painter at the Kenigliche Porzellanmanufaktur; and from 1821 he studied under Carl Wilhelm Gropius (1793-1870), then engaged as a painter of stage sets at the Kenigliches Theater in Berlin and also known for his townscapes. Here Gaertner developed skill in the rendering of perspective. He first exhibited at the Akademie der Kenste, Berlin, in the following year. In 1824-5 he was commissioned to paint interior views of Berlin Cathedral (see fig.) and the chapel of the Schloss Charlottenburg (both Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg). In return, he was granted funds to enable him to spend three years in Paris, where he studied under Francois Bertin. Gaertner views of Paris already show his gift for lighting and use of staffage. His special ability lay in his understanding of the character of a city as the work of its inhabitants. After his return to Berlin he swiftly established himself as the leading painter of urban views, which he regularly showed at Berlin Akademie exhibitions. Interest in this genre grew along with the spate of building activity in Berlin after the end of the wars against Napoleon. There was a fresh interest in paintings of new buildings in particular, intended for a local rather than a visitors market. Two large views of the former Berlin Schloss, The Schleterhof and The Eosanderhof (both 1831; Potsdam, Neues Pal.), show Gaertner bold use of light and shadow. With the six-part panorama View over Berlin from the Roof of the Friedrich-Wedersche Church (1834; Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg) Gaertner showed the spread of the city by this time. After painting a replica of this work for the Prussian king daughter Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress of Russia, in 1835-6 (St Petersburg, Hermitage), Gaertner visited Russia in 1837, and again from 1838 to 1839, staying in both St Petersburg and Moscow. He completed a large number of city views, including a three-part view of The Kremlin (1839; Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg), commissioned by Frederick William III. With the death of the Prussian king in 1840, Gaertner lost his most powerful patron and interest in his work began to wane as it came to seem too stiff and objective to Romantic sensibilities. Gaertner tried to adapt to the change in taste, adopting a more painterly approach; in particular, he paid attention to effects of lighting. The vogue for city views had passed its peak, however, and Gaertner turned to landscape painting. Journeys to Prague in 1841-2, through West and East Prussia in 1845-6, and to Silesia in 1848-51 introduced new subjects; but it was architecture rather than setting that most engaged Gaertner attention. At this period he occasionally also invented ideal landscape settings for real buildings, as in the Ruined Monastery of Lehnin in an Imaginary Mountain Landscape (Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg). Gaertner also produced watercolours of interiors and lithographs of both landscape and city views; but after the middle of the century his productivity in all respects dwindled. (An example of his work from this period is his oil painting of the Bauakademie and Friedrich-Wedersche-Kirche in Berlin (1868; Berlin, Tiergarten, N.G.; see SCHINKEL, KARL FRIEDRICH, fig. 2).) The rise of photography appeared to be making the architectural painter redundant.