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 :. | Wreck of the Ancon in Loring Bay, Alaska | Puget Sound, Pacific Coast | Sunlight and Shadow | The_Sierra_Nevadas | Staubbach Falls, Near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland |
Related Artists:Franz Xaver Kosler
Vienna 1864-1905James Smetham
was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter and engraver, a follower of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Smetham was born in Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire, and attended school in Leeds; he was originally apprenticed to an architect before deciding on an artistic career. He studied at the Royal Academy, beginning in 1843. His modest early success as a portrait painter was stifled by the development of photography (a problem shared by other artists of the time). In 1851 Smetham took a teaching position att the Wesleyan Normal College in Westminster; in 1854 he married Sarah Goble, a fellow teacher at the school. They would eventually have six children. Smetham worked in a range of genres, including religious and literary themes as well as portraiture; but he is perhaps best known as a landscape painter. His "landscapes have a visionary quality" reminiscent of the work of William Blake, John Linnell, and Samuel Palmer. Out of a lifetime output of some 430 paintings and 50 etchings, woodcuts, and book illustrations, his 1856 painting The Dream is perhaps his best-known work. He was also an essayist and art critic; an article on Blake (in the form of a review of Alexander Gilchrist's Life of William Blake), which appeared in the January 1869 issue of the Quarterly Review, influenced and advanced recognition of Blake's artistic importance. Other Smetham articles for the Review were "Religious Art in England" (1861), "The Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds" (1866), and "Alexander Smith" (1868). He also wrote some poetry. Smetham was a devout Methodist, and after a mental breakdown in 1857, the second half of his life was marked by a growing religious mania and eventual insanity. "In one of his notebooks he attempted to illustrate every verse in the Bible." (Smetham habitually created miniature, postage-stamp-sized pen-and-ink drawings, in a process he called "squaring." He produced thousands of these in his lifetime.) He suffered a final breakdown in 1877 and lived in seclusion until his death. Smetham's letters, posthumously published by his widow, throw light upon Rossetti, John Ruskin, and other contemporaries, and have been praised for their literary and spiritual qualities. Claude-joseph Vernet
French Painter, 1714-1789
Vernet probably received his first lessons in painting from his father, Antoine, who then encouraged him to move to the studio of Philippe Sauvan (1697-1792), the leading master in Avignon. Sauvan supplied altarpieces to local churches and decorative works and mythologies for grand houses in the area. After this apprenticeship Vernet worked in Aix-en-Provence with the decorative painter Jacques Viali ( fl 1681- 1745), who also painted landscapes and marine pictures. In 1731 Vernet independently produced a suite of decorative overdoors for the h?tel of the Marquise de Simiane at Aix-en-Provence; at least two of these survive (in situ) and are Vernet's earliest datable landscapes. These are early indications of his favoured type of subject, and Vernet would have studied works attributed to such 17th-century masters as Claude Lorrain, Gaspard Dughet and Salvator Rosa in private collections at Aix and Avignon. Three years later Joseph de Seytres, Marquis de Caumont, who had previously recommended Vernet to the Marquise de Simiane, offered to sponsor a trip to Italy.