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 :. | Men in Two Canoes | Palm Tree, Nassau by Albert Bierstadt | The_Plains_Near_Fort_Laramie | Italian Lake Scene | Passing Storm over the Sierra Nevada |
Related Artists:Peter von Cornelius
German Realist Painter, 1783-1867
German painter, draughtsman and teacher. He was a leading figure in the 19th-century revival of fresco painting for the decoration of public buildings. In both his own work and his teaching he was more concerned with conception and design than with the execution of the finished work. Bacon, Henry
American, 1839-1912Marie-Guillemine Benoist
was a French neoclassical, historical and genre painter. She was born in Paris, the daughter of a civil servant. Her training as an artist began in 1781 under Élisabeth Vigee Le Brun, and she entered Jacques-Louis David's atelier in 1786 along with her sister Marie-Élisabeth Laville-Leroux. The poet Charles-Albert Demoustier, who met her in 1784, was inspired by her in creating the character Émile in his work Lettres Émilie sur la mythologie (1801). In 1791 she exhibited for the first time in the Salon de Paris, displaying her mythology-inspired picture Psych faisant ses adieux sa famille. Another of her paintings of this period, L'Innocence entre la vertu et le vice, is similarly mythological and reveals her feminist interests in this picture, vice is represented by a man, although it was traditionally represented by a woman. In 1793, she married the lawyer Pierre-Vincent Benoist. Her work, reflecting the influence of Jacques-Louis David, tended increasingly toward history painting by 1795. In 1800, she exhibited Portrait d'une negresse in the Salon. Six years previously, slavery had been abolished, and this image became a symbol for women's emancipation and black people's rights. This picture was acquired by Louis XVIII for France in 1818. An important commission, for a full-length portrait of Napol on Bonaparte Premier Consul Français in this period was awarded to her in 1803. This portrait was to be sent to the city of Ghent, newly ceded to France by the Treaty of Luneville in 1801. Other honors came to her; she was awarded a Gold Medal in the Salon of 1804, and received a governmental allowance. During this time she opened an atelier for the artistic training of women. Her career was harmed by political developments, however, when her husband, the convinced royalist count Benoist, was nominated in the Conseil d'État during the post-1814 monarchy come-back called the Bourbon Restoration.