Bierstadt, Albert – American artist

Albert Bierstadt oil on paper, Irvington Woods, signed

p4A ItemID F7995218
Attributed to Albert Bierstadt, oil on paper, Cloud-break in Mountain Peaks, signed

p4A ItemID F7995071
Attributed to Albert Bierstadt watercolor, Ships off New Bedford, 1882, signed with initials "AB", spurious signature verso

p4A ItemID F7963055
Albert Bierstadt oil on paper laid on canvas, Cows Resting, signed

p4A ItemID F7954349

Albert Bierstadt (American, 1830 to 1902)

His [Bierstadt's] parents brought him to New Bedford, Massachusetts [from Solingen, near Dusseldorf] in 1831. By age twenty, he was teaching drawing and painting and was exhibiting his own crayon landscapes. Unable to find satisfactory training in the United States, Bierstadt returned to Dusseldorf in 1853 to study at the academy, where he was imbued with the prevailing aesthetic of grandiose landscape depiction. He indulged his taste for the sublime on sketching trips along the Rhine, in the Alps, and in Italy.

After returning to the United States, he put his Dusseldorf training to work in 1857, painting the impressive White Mountain region of New England. The next year, he accepted an invitation to join an expedition commanded by General Frederick W. Lander to survey a wagon road from Fort Laramie to the Pacific. Throughout the summer of 1859, Bierstadt sketched in the Wind River Range and in Shoshone country, exhibiting his first Rocky Mountain panoramas at the National Academy of Design in New York City the next year. Not only were the works an instant hit with the public, Bierstadt won immediate election to the academy.

“n 1863 and 1866, Bierstadt returned to the West, making enough sketches and studies to serve as the foundation for several years of titanic landscapes. With his works bringing prices unparalleled for an American artist, Bierstadt built a suitably majestic studio on the Hudson River at Irvington, New York. In 1872 and 1873, he journeyed to California and lived and worked on the Pacific coast.

Although Bierstadt based his titanic depictions of the western landscape on firsthand knowledge of the territory, his romantic vision was shaped by training in the grandiloquent approach taught at Dusseldorf’s famed art academy.
Alan Axelrod

Information courtesy of Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, July 2012.

Born in 1830, Albert Bierstadt came to America at the age of two when his family emigrated from Germany. They settled in Massachusetts where the budding artist spent his childhood and began exploring his natural artistic talents. As a young man Bierstadt returned to Germany to complete his formal artistic training at the Dusseldorf Art Academy, traveling throughout France and spending a year in Italy to study and sketch the masters. Returning to America in 1857, Bierstadt opened his studio in New York and a year later submitted his first work to the annual exhibition of the National Academy of Design. Three short years later he was elected a full Academician.

Bierstadt traveled extensively throughout his career, executing preparatory sketches which would later serve as the basis for his studio paintings. His travels took him from Europe and the East Coast to such remote western destinations as the Rocky Mountains, Yosemite, and Alaska. Bierstadt journeyed to California twice, first in 1863 and later in 1871. During his lengthy second trip (1871 to 1873), he lived in San Francisco and ventured out to paint the natural beauty of Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A location that Bierstadt painted frequently was the Merced River near the base of Yosemite Falls. He camped along the river bank in order to paint from the very first light of dawn until the last rays of sunlight had faded. These expertly drafted California landscapes from this period gained Bierstadt high praise from Eastern audiences and helped solidify his fame as an American master.

Information courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries, June 2009.

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