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 :. | Staubbach Falls, Near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland | A Storm in the Rocky Mountains | Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone Park | Autumn in the Conway Meadows looking towards Mount Washington | Sunset Over a Mountain Lake |
Related Artists:Giuseppe Dupra
(1703 -1784 ) - PainterJohn James Audubon
Audubon, John James ~ Bobwhite (Virginia Partridge), 1825Audubon developed his own methods for drawing birds. First, he killed them using fine shot to prevent them from being torn to pieces. He then used fixed wires to prop them up into a natural position, unlike the common method of many ornithologists of first preparing and stuffing the specimens into a rigid pose. When working on a major specimen, like an eagle, he would spend up to four 15 hour days, preparing, studying, and drawing it. His paintings of birds are set true-to-life in their natural habitat and often caught them in motion, especially feeding or hunting. This was in stark contrast with the stiff representations of birds by his contemporaries, such as Alexander Wilson. He also based his paintings on his own field observations.
He worked primarily with watercolor early on, then added colored chalk or pastel to add softness to feathers, especially those of owls and herons. He would employ multiple layers of watercoloring, and sometimes use gouache. Small species were often drawn to scale, placed on branches with berries, fruit, and flowers, sometimes in flight, and often with many individual birds to present all views of anatomy. Larger birds were often placed in their ground habitat or perching on stumps. At times, as with woodpeckers, he would combine several species on one page to offer contrasting features. Nests and eggs are frequently depicted as well, and occasionally predators, such as snakes. He usually illustrated male and female variations, and sometimes juveniles. In later drawings, he had aides render the habitat for him. Going behind faithful renderings of anatomy, Audubon employed carefully constructed composition, drama, and slightly exaggerated poses to achieve artistic as well as scientific effects.Jonathan Richardson
English Baroque Era Painter, ca.1664-1745