The Life and Paintings of the famous American Artist Albert Bierstadt

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Albert Bierstadt was born on 7th January 1830 in Germany. Later on his family migrated to New Bedford, Massachusetts in the year 1833. He had a natural flair for painting. He began, while young, with crayon works. He began oil paintings in the 1850s. Dusseldorf School was the institution he attended for learning painting. The school was situated in Dusseldorf, Germany. He continued with his learning between 1853 and 1857. Though painting was his passion, and he had wished to paint in his later years, somehow he began teaching paintings to the students of art. In his later period, he was found devoting himself completely into painting. He began the journey of painting in New England and New York. He came across Fredrick W. Lander who was a land surveyor for the United States Government. Albert Bierstadt travelled with him to various places before he came back with some sketches. He developed those sketches into full-scale finished paintings. He met the writer Fitz Hugh Ludlow. He went to the west with him. After some years he married Hugh’s wife. He made it a point to visit American Western


Albert Bierstadt’s paintings never received critical acclaim during his time. But his paintings were sold at high prices all over, and it was a kind of paradox associated with many artists and authors. He used extremely large canvasses to paint, and this was something that made him distinct from his contemporary painters. This tendency or passion for large frames was not taken so kindly by many art critics of his time. Though he was able to paint in a smaller canvas, due to some reason he stuck to the larger one. His critics thought that he painted such out of proportion canvasses just to show off and flaunt his mastery over other painters. It was thought as if he had a desire to dwarf the name and reputation of other contemporary painters, some of them were masters.

Romanticism was amply depicted in his pictures, and he had a kind of reputation for that. The excessive use of light was considered by his critics as abnormal. But he went on unhindered and relentlessly. His paintings showed nature in the form of clouds, mist and cloud for that awe-inspiring effect. He had the uncanny way of converting the colors into a kind of unnatural hue and shade. This again made him different painter of a different genre.

He took immense liberty with colors while painting his huge canvases and there were reasons behind that. He never mimicked anything, not even nature. He didn’t digest the fact that whatever he was watching, the things had to be like that. When he painted, he saw to it that whatever he wished about the way his surroundings should be, it would come alive in his paintings. In a way, he never compromised with his ways of interpretations.

He was a prolific painter. He must have painted more than 500 paintings, or maybe even more, during his life. He was endowed with awards and accolades from various nations including Austria, Germany and Belgium. Many of his paintings are kept in the museums of the United States. The prints of his paintings are sold commercially for the people, and those are adorning the walls of people ranging form the rank and file to the rich and famous.

His studio in New York was destroyed by fire in 1882. Mount Bierstadt and Bierstadt lake are named after him because he was fond of painting mountains and lakes. He visited the peak of Mount Evans, and this feat was first of its kind by any painter so far. His paintings are: The Emerald Pool, Cathedral Rocks, Domes of Yosemite, The wolf river, Oregon Trail, Sunrise in the Sierra, San Francisco Bay, Looking Down Yosemite Valley, Indian Canoe, Passing Storm over the Sierra, Farallon Island, Indians in Council, Puget Sound in the Pacific coast, etc.

Albert Bierstadt was honored by the United States in 1998. The postal service issued stamps which was titled ‘commemorative stamps of 400 years of American Art.

He was a man of determination and guts. He had never compromised with his own notions and doctrines. His resilience and stoicism was on display when his studio was gutted by a great fire and he bore the loss with impassive expression and went on to live the life of a painter who could be described a kind of idiosyncratic, especially when it came to painting so unconventionally. He remained unmoved by the barrage of criticism thrown his way because of his being a bit of Maverick. This quality or trait of his makes him all the more special painter in the annals of Art History. He was an American German painter, but neither age could defy him nor boundaries could wither his spirit, true to a real artist, to go places, making long journeys, taking the trouble of painting huge canvasses and putting them away in the magnificent studios he had managed to build around the place where he dwelled. Now the world is treasuring his thousands of paintings and looking at them with awe. But this jaw-dropping adulation was not so much forthcoming when he lived; and it happens with many artists and authors. People recognize their greatness only after they are gone.

The author of this article has expertise in Albert Bierstadt paintings. The articles on Albert Bierstadt reveals the author’s knowledge on the same. The author has written many articles on Albert Bierstadt paintings as well.

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