Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) was a German-born American painter who was brought to New Bedford, MA as a child. There he would work with crayons before moving onto oils. He returned to his fatherland to study in Düsseldorf for a few years, but his major work was to be done in the United States. He was part of the informal Hudson River school, which painted along the river and sought to portray scenes in a very realistic manner with glowing light, which is called luminism. He would soon become associated with the Rocky Mountain School.
His real fame came from painting the landscapes of the American West. Although he was not the first painter to join the expeditions of Westward expansion in order to create awesome artwork, Biersdadt’s paintings became the most iconic of the period. He would make sketches along his journey with a land surveyor for the US government and then return to his studio to make them into finished pieces. These glorious paintings were well received throughout America as well as Europe. Bierstadt received numerous medals and even give a private exhibition for Queen Victoria.
He was accused of excessive light use, romanticism and shameless over-promotion by his detractors.
The temptation (to criticize him) should be steadfastly resisted. Bierstadt’s theatrical art, fervent sociability, international outlook, and unquenchable personal energy reflected the epic expansion in every facet of western civilization during the second half of the nineteenth century.
He finished over 500 paintings, many of which are now in US museums. This is only a small selection, with a few paintings that are not of the American West thrown in for good measure.
Not Without the Rest by Twin Musicom