Albert Bierstadt does not have an image.
Hudson River School Painter
Although he was born in Germany on January 7, 1830, Bierstadt was brought to American when only a baby and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He returned to Dusseldorf when he was 23 years old and studied painting there and in Rome until 1857. He returned to America in 1858 and traveled to the Western part of the country. In 1860, he settled in New York City and maintained a studio at Irvington-on-Hudson until 1882 when he moved entirely to the City. He made visits to Europe in 1867, 1878, and 1883. He died at age 72, on February 18, 1902 in New York.
This biography was submitted by Spanierman Gallery, LLC
Recognized as the foremost painter of the American frontier during the nineteenth-century, Albert Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany, in 1830. At the age of two, he and his family emigrated to the United States, settling in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Nothing is known of his early art training; however, he might possibly have been influenced by local landscape painters and daguerreotypists. By the time he was twenty, he was supporting himself by teaching "monochromatic" painting and his work was beginning to attract the attention of New Bedford collectors.
In 1853, Bierstadt traveled to Düsseldorf in order to broaden his art education. It was there that he associated with such American artists as Worthington Whittredge and Carl Wimar, all of whom frequently gathered in the studio of the German-American history painter, Emanuel Leutze. During this period, he was introduced to the work of Carl Friedrich Lessing and Andreas Aachenbach, contemporary German painters widely admired for their heroic, highly finished landscape compositions. Bierstadt quickly absorbed these stylistic conventions, eventually becoming the leading American representative of the Düsseldorf style.
While abroad, Bierstadt traveled along the Rhine, in the Alps and in Italy, often in the company of Whittredge, Sanford Gifford and William Stanley Haseltine. He returned to New Bedford in the autumn of 1857. In the following year, he made the first of his many contributions to the annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design.
In April of 1859, he joined the expedition along the Overland Trail, led by Colonel Frederick W. Lander, a trip that would soon give rise to the most productive and important phase of his career. Armed with sketches and stereographs, he returned to New York City in the autumn of 1859, establishing his studio in the Tenth Street Building. There he produced the first of the panoramic western landscapes that established his reputation on an international level and, during the mid-1860s, made him a rival of Frederick Church for the position of America's preeminent painter.
Indeed, because much of the continent remained still relatively unexplored at that time, Bierstadt's monumental renderings of stately mountains and cascading waterfalls created romantic visions of wanderlust in the minds of Easterners. His first public exhibition of these works in 1860 was a resounding success. Many critics deemed the viewing of his depictions as an almost "religious" experience, associating his mountain spires with majestic cathedrals, his luminous skies with the awesome power of God. As pointed out by Barbara Novak, such works represent the attitude of the "transcendental mind," one in which "all matter was an extension of God." 1
Bierstadt was elected a full Academician of the National Academy of Design in 1860. In the same year, he made several painting trips to the White Mountains as well as to the southern United States. He made a second trip to the West in 1863 which was followed by another visit to Europe in 1867. In 1871, he moved to California where he played an active role in the art life of San Francisco. In 1873, he returned to New York.
During the 1870s, Bierstadt executed a mural for the U.S. Capitol (1875) and in conjunction with the declining health of his wife, made the first of many trips to the Bahamas. He made a third trip to Europe in 1883. During 1889, he painted in both Alaska and British Columbia. He continued to produce landscapes throughout the 1890s. He also became involved in the promotion of various inventions, including his own designs for the improvement of railway cars.
Albert Bierstadt died in New York City in 1902. Although his reputation during the 1890s suffered slightly from the attraction for French art, his impact upon the American landscape tradition of the nineteenth century remains strong. His large-scale, panoramic landscapes, with their dramatic, almost sublime, light effects, coupled with the meticulous rendering of details, reflect the influences of both the contemporary landscape school of Düsseldorf as well as the native Hudson River School aesthetic. His works can be found in major public and private collections throughout North America and Europe, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum, and the National Gallery of Canada.
The preceding essay was written by Matthew Baigell
Matthew Baigell is Distinguished Professor in the Art History Department at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is author of many books on art, including A History of American Painting, Dictionary of American Art, The American Scene: American Painting During the 1930's, A Concise History of American Painting & Sculpture, Charles Burchfield, Thomas Cole, The Western Art of Frederick Remington, Thomas Hart Benton, and his most current monograph Albert Bierstadt. His articles have appeared in Arts Magazine, Art Journal and Art Criticism.
Mr. Baigell was educated at the University of Vermont, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
This biography was submitted by Altermann Galleries
One of the first artists to use a camera to record landscape views, Albert Bierstadt also sought to convey in his paintings the monumental grandeur of the landscape of the far West. Bierstadt was born in 1830 in the small town of Solingen, near Dusseldorf in Germany. His family immigrated to the United States when he was two years old and he grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In 1853, Bierstadt returned to Dusseldorf and studied under the landscape painters Andreas Aschenbach and Karl Friedman Lessing. Under the influence of the Dusseldorf school, Bierstadt learned to develop the attention for detail and the atmospheric perspective for which he is so well known.
He returned to America in 1857 and joined a western military expedition led by Colonel Frederick W. Lander to survey wagon routes in the Rocky Mountains and Wyoming. From sketches, he later painted in his Tenth Street Studio New York landscapes, Indians, and wildlife in the traditional style he had learned in Europe. He was also elected a member of the National Academy. However, Bierstadt did not forget the grandeur he saw in the West. Throughout his lifetime, he traveled back and forth across the continent, as well as to Europe with his wife Rosalie.
After the Civil War, Bierstadt enjoyed his greatest popularity as a painter of what was then termed the “unblemished grandeur” of the western landscape. His reputation introduced him to many famous people of the time, including the poet Robert Longfellow, the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, and President Rutherford Hayes. In the 1860s and 70s, Bierstadt earned the highest prices ever achieved by an American painter, and the United States Congress allotted $20,000 for one of his paintings.
In 1867, he had a grand tour of Europe and England, including a special audience with Queen Victoria. His painting "Among the Sierra Mountains, California" was exhibited at the Royal Academy with mixed reactions, as some thought it overtaxed the viewers' minds and imaginations. He received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by Napoleon III and the Order of the Stanislaus from the Czar of the Russias.
At this time, Bierstadt was perhaps the most successful and renowned painter in America, rivaled only perhaps by Frederic Church. However, by the early 1880s, his fortunes were waning as the art-loving public turned increasingly towards more modern modes of expression.
His oil paintings, many of them huge, were the ultimate expression of the popular 19th-century Romanticism. But his reputation diminished when public taste in art changed dramatically and when transcontinental railway travel revealed that the West looked nothing like his idealized paintings. Sadly, Bierstadt lived long enough to see his romantic, grandiose and highly detailed paintings of the Western landscape go out of favor, replaced by more the adventurous and modern sorts of painting, and he died an all but forgotten figure.
Reference: "The American West: Legendary Artists of the Frontier", edited by Dr. Rick Stewart, AskArt.com
This biography was submitted by Roughton Galleries,Inc
Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) like most painters of the Rocky Mountains in the nineteenth century, was foreign born. He was born in 1830 in Soligen, near Dusseldorf, Germany and died in New York in 1902. He and his family immigrated to the United States when he was two. He grew up in New Bedford, Mass.
In 1853, Bierstadt returned to Dusseldorf, to study under the landscape painters Andreas Aschenbach and Karl F. Lessing. Under the influence of the Dusseldorf school, and in the company of his fellow painters Emmanuel Leutze and Thomas Whitteridge, Bierstadt learned attention to detail, the respect for drawing and the numerous tricks and effects of technique which he utilized,essentially unchanged, for the rest of his life.
Bierstadt traveled though Germany, Switzerland and Italy during his four years of European study, and produced some competent and pleasing of acceptably picturesque Old World scenes. After his return to the United Stated in 1857, he traveled and painted the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He also began to employ a camera, then not used by artists.
It was not until 1858 that he was to discover the subject matter, which he would make his own. In that year, Bierstadt joined a survey expedition to the American West led by Col. F. W. Lander. Bierstadt made numerous studies, working swiftly, of the spectacular Western scenery, Indians and wildlife. He patiently set to work in his studio to produce paintingsof the West which filled a seemly insatiable hunger of the American and European public.
Brooklyn Museum, NY
Capitol Building, Wash., D.C.
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
High Museum, Atlanta, Ga.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.
Museum of Fine Art, Boston
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, VT.
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Amon Carter, FWT
This biography was submitted by Pierce Galleries Inc
Albert Bierstadt (American, 1830-1902)
Born in Solingen, Germany in 1830, Bierstadt moved to Massachusetts with his family as a youth. Twenty-one years later, he returned to his home country to study painting at the Dusseldorf Academy, where he formed close friendships with Emanuel Leutze and Worthington Whittredge. After several years of study in landscape, genre and historical painting, he and his fellow American painter-friends made a sketching trip to the Swiss Alps. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1857, Bierstadt opened a studio at 15 Tenth Street in New York City and went on summer excursions to the White Mountains. Soon he traveled frequently to the Rocky Mountains and the California coast to paint from nature.
From 1871 to 1873, Bierstadt traveled throughout California, where he visited the Farallons in April 1872. The Farallons are a group of islands in the Pacific, twenty-six miles west of San Francisco, CA. A lighthouse keeper and his family maintained a home on the otherwise deserted islands and it is likely the artist stayed with them while he sketched the seal-covered coast.
Seals was probably painted shortly after Bierstadt’s visit in the Farallons. According to travel literature describing the area, “This is a wild and beautiful scene. The sharp pointed rocks are standing boldly out against the sky, and covered with birds and sea lions.” (Hutchings, California Magazine, August 1856, p. 52; 55) In May of 1872, the San Francisco Bulletin reported that, “Mr. Bierstadt returned from the Farallons yesterday. He has produces sketches for a marine painting of the Isles, and will doubtless give us a faithful likeness.” (Bulletin, San Francisco, May 2, 1872).
Bierstadt’s exceedingly desirable and rare paintings of seals upon rocks are internationally recognized as some of his most expressive, well-painted canvases.
This biography was submitted by Thomas Nygard Gallery
In 1859, at the age of 29, Albert Bierstadt accompanied a government expedition on a painting trip that would establish him as one of the most popular landscape artists of his time. He traveled with his sketch pad, paints and canvas on the back of a mule, past the Missouri River and deep into the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. There he found his greatest subject matter, the mysterious, magnificent, forests, plains, indigenous wildlife and peoples of the West. His later journey from 1863 to 1870 to California proved to be a culmination of his Rocky Mountain efforts.
Born in Germany, Bierstadt spent his childhood in New Bedford, Massachusetts. As a young child he returned to Europe for sophisticated art studies and extensive travel through the countryside and Alps of Germany and Italy.
Following his 1859 trip to Wyoming, Bierstadt moved to New York from where he would make many excursions West - soon as far as California where he painted the first known rendition of Yosemite Valley in 1864. That same year, the artist's "The Rocky Mountains" sold for $25,000, the highest price yet paid for a work of art. Today, that painting is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Bierstadt's popularity introduced him to many famous people of the time, including the poet Robert Longfellow, The Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, and President Rutherford Hayes. Throughout his lifetime, Bierstadt traveled back and forth across the continent and to Europe with his wife Rosalie. Today, nearly every state owns a Bierstadt painting, either in public or private collections.
This biography was submitted by Braarud Fine Art
Born in Solingen, Germany, near Dusseldorf, Albert Bierstadt grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts from the age of two. He returned to Dusseldorf in 1854 for three years of art study, and on his return to New Bedford joined other well-known landscape painters of the day in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The watershed event in Bierstadt's career took place in 1859, when he was invited to join the Lander survey expedition to the Pacific.
Overwhelmed by the mountains of the West, he went on to found his career and reputation on large-scale images that made the region seem even more glorious than its impressive reality. Bierstadt's paintings are today widely seen as a prime element in encouraging Western migration and development in the United States. At the height of his career in the 1860s and 1870s, he was perhaps the most successful and renowned painter in America. Examples of his work are included in most major collections of American art.
Though best known for his enormous, highly romanticized landscapes of a golden West, Bierstadt is at least equally admired for his smaller finished, less-idealized works and his accurate, perceptive on-site studies and oil sketches. One of his best known paintings, the small "The Wreck of the Ancon, Loring Bay, Alaska," at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, bears witness to the sinking of the steamship on which Bierstadt traveled the coast of British Columbia and Southeast Alaska as far north as Glacier Bay in 1889.
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Likely the most famous and financially successful late 19th-century painter of the American western landscape, Albert Bierstadt created grandiose, dramatic scenes of the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevadas that lured many people to visit those sites. He was also one of the first artists to use a camera to record landscape views.
His oil paintings, many of them huge, were the ultimate expression of the popular 19th-century Romanticism. But his reputation diminished when public taste in art changed dramatically and when transcontinental railway travel revealed that the West looked nothing like his idealized paintings.
Bierstadt was born in Solingen, near Dusseldorf, Germany, and sailed as a baby with his family who settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Unlike many of his successful peers, as a child, he showed only casual interest in and talent for art, and he had no encouragement from his family.
In 1853, he returned to Dusseldorf where he studied at the Royal Academy with landscape painters Andreas Aschenbach and Karl Friedman Lessing. Some of his fellow students were Emmanuel Leutze and Worthington Whittredge, and they all learned much attention to detail, respect for composition and skilled drawing. During this period, he traveled extensively in Europe and completed many picturesque Old World scenes in the style that later became his trademark.
In 1857, he returned to the United States and painted the White Mountains of New Hampshire and in 1858, exhibited for the first time at the National Academy of Design in New York.
But it was a year later that he found the subject matter that set the course of his career. He joined a western military expedition led by Colonel Frederick W. Lander to survey wagon routes in the Rocky Mountains and Wyoming. From sketches, he later painted in his Tenth Street Studio in New York landscapes, Indians, and wildlife in the traditional style he had learned in Europe.
In 1863, he went by stage coach to California with writer Fitz Hugh Ludlow and became much lauded in San Francisco society where he lived for six months. He traveled to Yosemite where he did many paintings that were such a sensation that he became immediately famous. In 1871, he returned to California and stayed for three years, exhibiting in local galleries and with the San Francisco Art Association. He also returned in 1893 after the death of his wife.
In 1865, he built a thirty-five room home on the Hudson River near New York City. He named the place "Malkasten," which was German for paint box, but he seldom worked there, preferring his New York studio. In 1882, his Hudson River home and many of his paintings were destroyed by fire.
In the 1860s and 70s, he earned the highest prices ever achieved by an American painter, and the US Congress allotted $20,000 for one of his paintings. In 1867, he had a grand tour of Europe and England including a special audience with Queen Victoria. His painting, "Among the Sierra Mountains, California," was exhibited at the Royal Academy with mixed reactions as some thought it overtaxed the viewers' minds and imaginations. He received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by Napoleon III and the Order of the Stanislaus from the Czar of the Russias.
However, toward the end of the century, his career had major setbacks with the increasing influence of the Barbizon and Impressionist styles from Europe, and his work was increasingly considered old fashioned. In 1895, he declared bankruptcy and died seven years later, largely forgotten in the public mind. But he has been rediscovered in the late 20th century, and according to Edan Hughes in his book "Artists in California," Bierstadt is "the founder of the western school of landscape painting."
Several of his paintings are on display in the former private residence of Laurence and Mary Rockefeller at Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park in Woodstock, Vermont.
Michael David Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
ALBERT BIERSTADT in Alaska
Bierstadt was the most famous 19th-century artist to visit Alaska. At the height of his career in the 1860s and 1870s, Bierstadt was perhaps the most successful and renowned painter in America, rivaled only perhaps by Frederic Church.
Sadly, Bierstadt lived long enough to see his romantic, grandiose, highly detailed paintings of the Western landscape go out of favor, replaced by more adventurous, modern sorts of painting, and he died an all but forgotten figure. More recently, his work has again been lionized, only to be re-attacked as an embodiment of the 'American capitalist spirit' that led to development of the West and devastating consequences for Native American cultures. The roller coaster of Bierstadt's reputation is as much the result of changing political climates as stylistic fashion.
By the early 1880s, his fortunes were waning as the art-loving public turned increasingly towards more modern modes of expression. One of his most grievous blows came from his fellow artists when the American selection committee for the Paris University Exposition of 1889 rejected his huge painting 'The Last of the Buffalo' (Corcoran Gallery, New York). Only a few months after this unexpected refusal, the artist traveled West by train from his home in New York to Victoria, B.C., and then north by steamer to Alaska on the steamer, Ancon. This was a time when many major American landscape painters were in search of inspiring scenery for their works. Soon after the United States occupied the Territory, of Alaska, many artists were attracted to go there, despite the distances and hardships involved.
Neither Bierstadt nor his fellow passengers could have known that it would be the ship's last journey. After stopping at Juneau, Ft. Wrangell, and Sitka, and touring Glacier Bay, the ship returned to the village of Loring, near Ketchikan on August 28, 1889. On departure, the Ancon drifted onto a reef and was wrecked. Bierstadt's 'The Wreck of the Ancon, Loring Bay, Alaska' (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) depicts the Ancon listing helplessly offshore. This stunning work, with the remote, abandoned ship isolated in motionless water and surrounded by a low fog, is a personal and very atypical example of the artist's work. It is, however, and probably the best known and most widely reproduced 19th century painting of Alaska.
The following is from the Art Cellar Exchange, San Diego, California:
Albert Bierstadt was born in 1830 in the small town of Solingen, near Dusseldorf in Germany. His family emigrated to the United States when he was 2 years old and he grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In 1853, Bierstadt returned to Dusseldorf and studied under the landscape painters Andreas Aschenbach and Karl Friedman Lessing. Under the influence of the Dusseldorf school, Bierstadt learned to develop the attention for detail and the atmospheric perspective for which he is so well known.
Bierstadt traveled through Germany, Switzerland and Italy during his 4 years of European study and produced many beautiful paintings of picturesque Old World scenes. After returning to the United States in 1857, he traveled and painted in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It was at this time that he began to use the camera as a way to document his subject matter. In 1858, Bierstadt joined a survey expedition to the American West. During this trip he discovered the subject matter that he would make his own. The spectacular Western scenery, Indians, and wildlife inspired Bierstadt's work.
After this journey, he set to work and produced the grand paintings of the American West with which we are so familiar. Bierstadt's stunning vistas of mountainscapes and waterfalls are often portrayed as romantic dreams. He made another trip to the west in 1863, and the photographs and drawings he brought back at this time brought him to the peak of his career.
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