Albert Bierstadt [1830-1902]


Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) like most painters of the Rocky Mountains in the nineteenth century, was foreign born. He was born in 1830 in Soligen, near Dusseldorf, Germany and died in New York in 1902. He and his family immigrated to the United States when he was two. He grew up in New Bedford, Mass.

In 1853, Bierstadt returned to Dusseldorf, to study under the landscape painters Andreas Aschenbach and Karl F. Lessing. Under the influence of the Dusseldorf school, and in the company of his fellow painters Emmanuel Leutze and Thomas Whitteridge, Bierstadt learned attention to detail, the respect for drawing and the numerous tricks and effects of technique which he utilized,essentially unchanged, for the rest of his life. 

Bierstadt traveled though Germany, Switzerland and Italy during his four years of European study, and produced some competent and pleasing of acceptably picturesque Old World scenes. After his return to the United Stated in 1857, he traveled and painted the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He also began to employ a camera, then not used by artists. 

It was not until 1858 that he was to discover the subject matter, which he would make his own. In that year, Bierstadt joined a survey expedition to the American West led by Col. F. W. Lander. Bierstadt made numerous studies, working swiftly, of the spectacular Western scenery, Indians and wildlife. He patiently set to work in his studio to produce paintingsof the West which filled a seemly insatiable hunger of the American and European public.