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 :. | Donner Lake from the Summit | Die Wasserfalle von St Anthony | Among the Sierra Nevada,California | Sunset in the Rockies | The Sunset at Monterey Bay, the California Coast |
Related Artists:Joseph Denis Odevaere
1778-1830,Flemish painter. He attended evening classes at the Bruges Academie in 1794-5 and then went to Paris, where he entered the studio of the Bruges artist Joseph-Benoet Suvee. In 1801 he began training under Jacques-Louis David and in 1804 won the Prix de Rome for his Death of Phocion (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.), in which he faithfully adhered to the principles of David's teaching. Before going to Italy he spent a year in Bruges carrying out portrait commissions, including the Marquis de Chauvelin (1805; Bruges, Groeningemus.). During his time in Rome (1805-12) he copied antique and Renaissance works, taking a particular interest in Raphael, who features in his wash drawing the Master of Urbino Introduced by Bramante to Julius II (1807; Bruges, Groeningemus.), a study for a lost painting. Around 1811 he was among the artists chosen to decorate the Palazzo del Quirinale for Napoleon's visit, although he never executed more than a sketch, Tanaquil Predicting the Future Greatness of Servius Tullius (c. 1811-12; Dijon, Mus. Magnin). Odevaere successfully exhibited in Paris in 1812 and then moved to Ghent, showing works at the Salon there two years later. After the union of the Low Countries in 1815 he became official painter to William I. As a result of this post he executed several works illustrating the history of the Dutch royal family, including the Prince of Orange Wounded at Waterloo (1817) and the Battle of Nieuwpoort (1820; both Brussels, Pal. Nation, on dep. Brussels, Pal. Justice). In 1815 he was commissioned to recover works of art taken from the Low Countries by the French. David's arrival in Brussels in 1816 coincided with the beginning of Odevaere's most ambitious composition, the Departure of the Athenians for Salamis (1816-25; Brussels, Mus. A. Anc.), inspired as much by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres as by David, although the latter frequently advised Odevaere on the painting. From 1825 to 1829 he worked on a series of paintings conveying his support of the philhellenic committees created during the Greek War of Independence.Dennis Miller Bunker
Dennis Miller Bunker Gallery
The paintings of Bunker's early maturity in New York (ca. 1880-82) were often marine subjects, featuring a series of beached boats, painted on Long Island. In these he followed the standard academic practice of first painting loose, preparatory sketches (Beached, ca. 1881-2) prior to more conventionally finished exhibition pieces. The early portraits (Portrait of Walter Griffin, 1881, Portland Museum of Art) also evidence rigorous craftsmanship.
While studying in Paris, Bunker's summer excursions to the countryside resulted in another series, this time of scenes of Larmor, a town in Brittany. The focus of these compositions, be it church spire (Brittany Town Morning, Larmor, 1884, Terra Foundation for American Art), cemetery cross, or a lone tree (Tree, 1884-5, private collection), was invariably that of a richly painted, dark graphic shape against a bright sky. Nevertheless, the pictures are characterized by soft atmospheric effects and tonal subtlety. No less subtle are the landscapes Bunker painted after returning to America; paintings done in South Woodstock, Connecticut (Pines Beyond the Fence, 1886, private collection) still favor dramatic value contrasts, with subjects carefully painted against a light sky, but the palette has grown lighter, the color more saturated.
By 1887 Bunker completed his Portrait of Anne Page, a painting requiring much labor, but one of his most poignant works. In its restrained use of color, delicate modeling of form, and aesthetic elegance it is reminiscent of the works of Thayer and James McNeill Whistler. There soon followed the Boston commissions, portraits mostly of male sitters--still somber in tone, they are painted in a more confident manner, suggesting the influence of Sargent (Portrait of George Augustus Gardner, 1888, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).
Portrait Sketch of Eleanor Hardy Bunker, 1890. Private collection.That Bunker spent the summer of 1888 painting with Sargent is verified by personal correspondence, as well as through several pieces by the latter artist (Dennis Miller Bunker Painting at Calcot, 1888, Terra Foundation for American Art), but no paintings of the English sojourn by Bunker have survived; possibly he destroyed them in dissatisfaction. However, once back in Boston the experience came to fruition, for over the next two years Bunker produced a series of canvases which evidenced that he was one of the first American artists to fully understand and successfully practice impressionism. In the Greenhouse, ca. 1888, Chrysanthemums, 1888 (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), The Pool, Medfield, 1889 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), and Meadow Lands, 1890 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) all feature a rich palette, vertiginous compositions, and his unique "fish hook" shaped brush strokes.
At the same time, Bunker's last figure pieces remained faithful to his academic training. Jessica, 1890 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), The Mirror, 1890 (Terra Foundation for American Art), and Eleanor Hardy Bunker, 1890 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) are characterized by a restricted color range and heightened elegance.Anthony Vandyck Copley Fielding