The nineteenth century was a glorious era for arts and artists. So many brilliant artists contributed to making the world a better place by leaving a lasting impression on the whole world.
One such artist is Albert Bierstadt, who was highly acclaimed for the beautiful subjects of his work. He mostly painted landscapes of Western America that were serenely majestic and captivated the eyes of both critics and viewers. In this article, we’ll look into some of the most interesting facts about Albert Bierstadt that you might not know. So, let’s hop in!
Born To A German Family
Albert Bierstadt is famous as an American-based artist, but very few people know that the artist was born to a German Family in 1830 in Solingen, Rhine Province of Germany. However, the family of the German-American painter moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, just after two years of his birth.
After emigrating to the United States, the artist’s father, Henry Bierstadt, found work as a cooper in America’s ever-growing whaling industry. The high demand for barrels provided Bierstadt’s family well enough to afford a good standard of living in the country.
As a teenager, Albert Bierstadt used to assist landscape painter George Harvey on a traveling show. For an entrance fee of 25 cents, Bierstadt would project images of his painting onto the small theater screens.
An Aspiring Turned Teacher And Then An Painter
Albert Bierstadt developed his passion for arts at a very tender age; he started creating drawings in his early childhood. Later, he substituted drawing with crayon sketches before moving into oil painting.
In 1853, the artist moved back to Germany to follow his desire to study painting. While in Dusseldorf, Germany, Albert Bierstadt went to several informal art schools and refined his technical abilities in painting. Four years later, in 1857, the artist moved back to the States and began teaching drawing and painting.
After a brief teaching career, Albert Bierstadt’s works were a result of his devotion of his entire time and energy to painting.
Albert Bierstadt Was An Avid Traveler
It would not be wrong to say that Albert Bierstadt was an avid traveler. After three years in Dusseldorf, the artist went on a sketching tour through Germany, Italy, and Switzerland along with his aid Worthington Whittredge. The trip extended and was followed by a winter in Rome, where he captured the serene beauty of Naples and Capri.
Upon returning to America, Bierstadt joined an overland survey expedition that allowed him to travel the western side of the country and the Rocky Mountains, which can often be seen in Albert Bierstadt’s paintings.
The artist was on the expedition with Frederick W. Lander. The government contracted to survey, engineer, and build a trail across Wyoming and Idaho, a pathway later known as the “Lander Trail.” In 1859, Bierstadt traveled to the Platte River and Wind River Mountains, picturing the breathtaking scenery and sketching the life of the natives.
Paid To Substitute in War Drafting
The year was 1861 when the civil war broke out in the United States, and during the civil war, Albert Bierstadt was drafted in 1863. However, Bierstadt bailed out of the draft by paying for a substitute who served in the war instead of Bierstadt.
The war instantly became his primary subject of interest and, subsequently, the subject of his artworks. He created numerous paintings of a war based on his brief interactions with soldiers and photographs taken by his brother. Among these paintings were Guerrilla Warfare and Civil War.
The Civil War paintings by Albert Bierstadt were exhibited by the Brooklyn Art Association in 1861, which gained massive success. Despite having no first-hand war experience, Alber Bierstadt created an unblemished account of the war through his paintings.
Awards and Legacies of Bierstadt
Albert Bierstadt was one of the nineteenth century’s most successful and prolific landscape painters. He became internationally renowned for his enormous and beautiful landscape paintings of the newly accessible American west.
Talking about his awards and accolades, Albert Bierstadt was elected as a member of the National Academy in 1860. He also has received multiple honors throughout Europe, including in nations like Austria, Belgium, Bavaria, and Germany. But, that’s not all; his painting was also exhibited in London in a private reception with Queen Victoria, which was an honor for the artist.
Moreover, applauding and commemorating Bierstadt’s love for mountains and landscapes, Mount Bierstadt in Colorado was named after him. Another mountain in Colorado was named after Bierstadt’s wife, Mount Rosa, later renamed after the then Colorado Governor John Evans.
The Bottom Line
Along with popularity and fame, Albert Bierstadt also received his fair share of criticism during the later years of his career. Yet, today, the artist is known to be one of America’s best landscape painters. His portrayal of America’s amazing landscapes inspired generations of explorers in the United States to travel and venture towards the undiscovered West side of the country.