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Albert Bierstadt

Albert Bierstadt was born January 7, 1830 in Solingen, Germany. He was a landscape painter who painted so-called “great pictures” in the Hudson River style in the mid-1800s. Albert Bierstadt immigrated to New Bedford, Massachusetts, with his family in 1832. Bierstadt died in New York City on February 18, 1902.

In 1853 he traveled to Düsseldorf, Germany to study in landscape painting with German-American painter Emanuel Leutze. In the mid-1800s, Americans were interested in remote national territories. Expeditionary forces mapped, photographed, and painted the far west territories. In 1859, Bierstadt was the first major painter to go west as a member of Frederick Lander's expeditionary party. He sketched in the Wind River and Shoshone country during the summer of 1861. 

Bierstadt's “great pictures” emphasize large-scale scenery and dramatic light effects. His use of large canvases influenced many Utah landscape artists. The paintings of John Tullidge, George Beard, Alfred Lambourne, and H. L. A. Culmer draw from his vision. In 1863, he was in Utah where he painted The Great Salt Lake (1863) . Other notable works include Valley of Yosemite (1864), The Heart of Andes (1859), Sunset Light, Wind River Range of the Rocky Mountains (1861), and Yosemite Valley; Sunset in the Yosemite Valley (1868).

Biographical information on this page was adapted from Artists of Utah.

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), the famed landscaper painter, was born in Solingen, Germany; brought up in America; studied in Dusseldorf, Germany; sketched in the West; painted scenes of the West in a Dusseldorf-Hudson River School manner in New York State; was internationally renowned for his Rocky Mountain paintings; lived in a mansion on the Hudson; and died in New York City flat broke. He also resided in New Belford, Massachusetts, and Tappan Zee, New York. His work is found in numerous museums and private collections, including the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and Brigham Young University. He went west first in 1859 on a government expedition and spent some time sketching in Wind River and Shoshone country that summer. He then returned to New York and painted his first Rocky Mountain picture for the National Academy of Design Exhibition of 1860. He was thirty, and in the next three years, he won immediate and sensational popularity. Another western trip in 1863 found the artist working in Nebraska, Colorado, Oregon, California, and Utah. He was also in Salt Lake City on that trip. In fact, John Tullidge, George Beard, Alfred Lambourne, and especially H.L.A. Culmer may to noted as particularly involved within a romantic landscape context in which Bierstadt was supreme.

Biography courtesy Artists of Utah

Books

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Fees, Paul and Sarah E. Boehme. Frontier America: Art From Buffalo Bill Historical Center. New York, NY: The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Association with H.N. Abrams, 1988.

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Hall, Donald, and Clifton C. Olds. Winter: Published on the Occasion of the Exhibition, Winter, February 1 Through March 16, 1986, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. Hanover, NH: Hood Museum of Art, 1986.

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Hassrick, Peter H. Treasures of the Old West Thomas Gilcrease Institute. New York, NY: Abrams, 1984.

Hassrick, Royal B. History of Western American Art. New York, NY: Exeter Books, 1987.

Hendricks, Gordon. ABierstadt; an Essay and Catalogue to Accompany a Retrospective Exhibition of the Work of Albert Bierstadt. Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum 1972.

Hendricks, Gordon. Albert Bierstadt: Painter of the American West. New York, NY: Harrison House, 1988.

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Hjal Marchson, Birgitta. Artful Players: Artistic Life in Early San Francisco. Los Angeles, CA: Balcony Press, 1999.

Howat, John K. American Paradise World of the Hudson River School. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1988.

Hudson River Museum. The Book of Nature American Painters & the Natural Sublime. Yonkers, NY: The Museum, 1983.

Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California: 1786-1940. San Francisco, CA: Hughes Publishing Company, 2002.

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Kinsey, Joni. Plain Pictures Images of the American Prairie. Washington, DC: Published for the University of Iowa Museum of Art by the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.

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Landon, Daryl R. Museum of Nebraska Art: Opening Exhibition. [Kearney, NE?]: Museum of Nebraska, 1986.

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Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Handbook of the Collections. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1989.

Leavitt, Thomas. ed. Handbook of the Collections: Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art. Ithaca, NY: The Museum, 1981.

Manthorne, Katherine. Tropical Renaissance: North American Artists Exploring Latin America, 1839-1879. New directions in American art. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.

McCann, Chris. Master Pieces The Art History of Jigsaw Puzzles. Portland, OR: Collectors Press, 1998.

McCracken, Harold. Great Painters and Illustrators Of the Old West. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1988.

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Mead, Katherine. ed. The Preston Morton Collection of American Art. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1981.

Miller, Angela. The Empire of the Eye Landscape and American Cultural Politics 1825-1875. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993.

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Mint Museum. American Paintings The Landon Collection. Charlotte, NC: Mint Museum of Art, 1979.

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Muhlert, January K. American Paintings Selections from the Amon Carter Museum. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House, 1986.

Nassau County. Museum Animals in American Art 1880's-1980's. Roslyn, NY: The Museum, 1981.

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Norton, Thomas E. 100 Years of Collecting in America The Story of Southerby Park Bernet. New York, NY: H.N. Abrams, 1984.

Novak, Barbara and Annette Blaugrund. Next to Nature: Landscape Paintings from the National Academy of Design. New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1980.

Novak, Barbara. Nature and Culture: American Landscape and Painting 1825-75. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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Periodicals

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Buckley, Laurene. " New Britain Museum of American Art." American Art Review, April, 1999.

Burgard, Timothy. "Edmonia Lewis & H W Longfellow." American Art Review, February, 1995.

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