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 :. | Prong-Horned Antelope | Haying, Conway Meadows | View of the Grindelwald | Sunset, Deer and River | Street in Nassau |
Related Artists:Claude Lorrain
Claude Lorrain Galleries
In Rome, not until the mid-17th century were landscapes deemed fit for serious painting. Northern Europeans, such as the Germans Elsheimer and Brill, had made such views pre-eminent in some of their paintings (as well as Da Vinci in his private drawings or Baldassarre Peruzzi in his decorative frescoes of vedute); but not until Annibale Carracci and his pupil Domenichino do we see landscape become the focus of a canvas by a major Italian artist. Even with the latter two, as with Lorrain, the stated themes of the paintings were mythic or religious. Landscape as a subject was distinctly unclassical and secular. The former quality was not consonant with Renaissance art, which boasted its rivalry with the work of the ancients. The second quality had less public patronage in Counter-Reformation Rome, which prized subjects worthy of "high painting," typically religious or mythic scenes. Pure landscape, like pure still-life or genre painting, reflected an aesthetic viewpoint regarded as lacking in moral seriousness. Rome, the theological and philosophical center of 17th century Italian art, was not quite ready for such a break with tradition.
In this matter of the importance of landscape, Lorrain was prescient. Living in a pre-Romantic era, he did not depict those uninhabited panoramas that were to be esteemed in later centuries, such as with Salvatore Rosa. He painted a pastoral world of fields and valleys not distant from castles and towns. If the ocean horizon is represented, it is from the setting of a busy port. Perhaps to feed the public need for paintings with noble themes, his pictures include demigods, heroes and saints, even though his abundant drawings and sketchbooks prove that he was more interested in scenography.
Lorrain was described as kind to his pupils and hard-working; keenly observant, but an unlettered man until his death. The painter Joachim von Sandrart is an authority for Claude's life (Academia Artis Pictoriae, 1683); Baldinucci, who obtained information from some of Claude's immediate survivors, relates various incidents to a different effect (Notizie dei professoni del disegno).
John Constable described Claude Lorrain as "the most perfect landscape painter the world ever saw", and declared that in Claude??s landscape "all is lovely ?C all amiable ?C all is amenity and repose; the calm sunshine of the heart"James Hope
American, born circa 1818-1892Martin Johnson Heade
American Hudson River School Painter, 1819-1904 Martin Johnson Heade (August 11, 1819-September 4, 1904) was a prolific American painter known for his salt marsh landscapes, seascapes, portraits of tropical birds, and still lifes. His painting style and subject matter, while derived from the romanticism of the time, is regarded by art historians as a significant departure from that of his peers.
Art historians have come to disagree with the common view that Heade is a Hudson River School painter, a view given wide currency by Heade's inclusion in a landmark exhibition of Hudson River School landscapes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1987.
The leading Heade scholar and author of Heade's catalogue raisonn??, Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., wrote some years after the 1987 Hudson River School exhibition that "...other scholars??myself included??have increasingly come to doubt that Heade is most usefully seen as standing within that school."
According to the Heade catalogue raisonn??, only around 40 percent of his paintings were landscapes. The remaining majority were still lifes, paintings of birds, and portraits, subjects unrelated to the Hudson River School. Of Heade's landscapes, perhaps only 25 percent were painted of traditional Hudson River School subject matter.
Heade had less interest in topographically accurate views than the Hudson River painters, and instead focused on mood and the effects of light. Stebbins writes, "If the paintings of the shore as well as the more conventional compositions...might lead one to think of Heade as a Hudson River School painter, the [marsh scenes] make it clear that he was not."