Biography of Albert Bierstadt

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Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 – February 18, 1902) was a German-American painter best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century. Bierstadt was part of the Hudson River School, not an institution but rather an informal group of like-minded painters. The Hudson River School style involved carefully detailed paintings with romantic, almost glowing lighting, sometimes called luminism. An important interpreter of the western landscape, Bierstadt, along with Thomas Moran, is also grouped with the Rocky Mountain School.[1]

Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany. His family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1831. He developed a taste for art early and made clever crayon sketches in his youth. In 1851, he began to paint in oils.[2] He studied painting with the members of the Düsseldorf school of painting in Düsseldorf from 1853 to 1857. He taught drawing and painting briefly before devoting himself to painting.

Map of Bierstadt's journey in 1859 and 1863.
Bierstadt began making paintings in New England and upstate New York. In 1859, he traveled westward in the company of Frederick W. Lander, a land surveyor for the U.S. government, returning with sketches that would result in numerous finished paintings. In 1863 he returned west again, in the company of the author Fitz Hugh Ludlow, whose wife he would later marry. He continued to visit the American West throughout his career. During the American Civil War, Bierstadt paid for a substitute to serve in his place when he was drafted in 1863. He did complete one Civil War painting Guerilla Warfare, Civil War in 1862, based on his brief experiences with soldiers stationed at Camp Cameron in 1861.[3] Bierstadt's painting was based on a stereo...
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