The famous German-American painter Albert Bierstadt was born in 1830 in Solingen, Germany. When he was one year old, he and his parents moved to the United States. In 1902, while in New York, he passed away.
He created more than 500 paintings, but some art historians believe that it is possible that there could be more than 4,000 Albert Bierstadt paintings. He is well-known and famous for his depictions of West American landscapes. In this article, we’ll look at Bierstadt painters and discuss Albert Bierstadt’s art.
Some Facts regarding Bierstadt Painter
As a young man, Albert Bierstadt visited places in the West of America where few Westerners had been at that stage. He joined many groups of people who undertook expeditions into the West. On those journeys, he made sketches of beautiful and exciting places and gathered as much information as he could regarding the locations.
Although he was not always the first artist to record these views, he was and still is regarded as the foremost painter of West American landscapes during the 19th century.
Albert Bierstadt’s artworks are popular with art lovers because they are famous for their beautiful depictions of nature scenes in the American West. In many of his landscapes, beautiful waterfalls are included. Apart from waterfalls, his landscape subjects include American national parks, scenic reserves, glaciers, lakes, and wild animals.
Albert Bierstadt Artworks – Work Procedure and Style
Bierstadt’s style can be described as calm, objective, and very detailed. His work procedure was to create small oil studies, pencil sketches, and photographic images while onsite. He took these sketches and small paintings back to his studio and then used them to create larger works.
Albert Bierstadt’s art was not fiction but a realistic and idealized portrayal of what he saw. One of Albert Bierstadt’s works, “Yosemite Valley” (1866), demonstrates his typical technique when creating medium-sized paintings.
Interestingly, the larger works painted in his studio do not have the spontaneity of the smaller paintings created on the spot. But the studio paintings are immense in scale and have a grandiose effect.
Most art historians and critics accept that Bierstadt altered the details of landscapes to create certain effects. His colors, for example, were applied to “look good” and not necessarily according to his original observations. If you study Albert Bierstadt paintings, you’ll find that the water is always captivating, and the mountains create a calm atmosphere.
The “Popular” Period
Albert Bierstadt’s landscapes are rugged, but they are a romanticized version of the Western regions of America. He painted on a grand scale and put a lot of detail into the landscapes. He was also a master with dramatic lighting.
Albert Bierstadt’s art captured the imagination of many 19th-century art collectors. As a result, he has been one of the few painters to have the privilege of enjoying tremendous success during his lifetime. His paintings sold at record prices.
For instance, his “Rocky Mountain, Lander’s Peak” was sold for $25,000 in 1865. Most Albert Bierstadt art can be found in public and private collections. To acquire an Albert Bierstadt landscape, you must settle for a professionally created reproduction.
End of the “Popular” Era
Unfortunately, fashion and trends changed continuously, and by the end of the 1800s, art collectors’ interest shifted to the new impressionist styles, away from Bierstadt’s style and his landscape depictions.
After Bierstadt’s sudden death in 1902, it was as if the art community had forgotten his work. However, since the 1960s, people have become more interested in preserving the national lands of the USA, and Bierstadt’s paintings began to be exhibited again.
Bierstadt’s Recognition and Legacy
In recognition of Bierstadt’s “documentation” of the American West with his paintings, Mount Bierstadt in Colorado was named in his honor. Mount Rosa in Colorado was named in honor of his wife, but later it was, unfortunately, renamed. The United States Postal Service issued 20 commemorative stamps in 1998. Albert Bierstadt was featured on one of the stamps in the set entitled “Four Centuries of American Art.”
Some of Albert Bierstadt’s Works – Most Famous Landscapes
As a large percentage of Albert Bierstadt’s paintings are landscapes, many of which are paintings of waterfalls in the Rockies and other mountainous areas in the American West, let’s look in more detail at three of his waterfall paintings. In 1863, Albert Bierstadt undertook a trip to the American West with a group of artists. During the trip, he visited the valley of Yosemite. He was very impressed by the large scale of Yosemite Falls.
His painting “Cho-look, the Yosemite Fall” depicts the large scale and natural majesty of the Falls. To give perspective to the scale of the waterfall, he painted a grove of oaks and cypresses in the foreground with men gathered at their camp. Interestingly, he also added a sketching umbrella, a color box, and other objects he always had with him in the right corner of the painting.
In “Rocky Mountain Waterfall”, Bierstadt succeeded in capturing the gorge and cascading falls in “photographic” detail. He carefully painted the soggy moss growing on the rocks and the surrounding lush greenery.
In 1880, Bierstadt created his well-known painting, “The Falls of St Anthony”. It is an oil landscape depicting the falls with the spillway. Bierstadt depicted the natural scene as it had been before human interference. Still, he painted several Native Americans in the foreground and a figure with a hat and walking stick. Art scholars speculate that the figure with the walking stick represents Louis Hennepin, the discoverer of the falls.
Places where You can view Albert Bierstadt Paintings
To assist you in locating art galleries and collections where you can view Albert Bierstadt’s art, we’ve compiled a list in alphabetical order of some of the most well-known places housing some of his works.
- Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
- Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento
- Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Detroit Institute of Arts
- National Academy of Design, New York
- National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.
- St. Louis Art Museum
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
Albert Bierstadt is one of America’s earliest and most successful premier western landscape artists. His paintings promoted Western American travel as well, and historians believe that his artwork may have convinced Congress to establish Yosemite as a national park.