Albert Bierstadt (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Using an exaggerated, romantic style, Bierstadt painted giant landscapes of spectacular Western vistas that helped to shape the myth of the American West, establish the Rocky Mountain School of art, and interest Easterners in preservation of Western scenic areas as national parks.
Albert Bierstadt was born in 1830 at Solingen, Germany, near the city of Düsseldorf, which was a mecca for émigré American artists. He migrated to the United States with his parents at the age of two and was reared amid the maritime atmosphere in the whaling town of New Bedford, Massachusetts. He exhibited his first painting in Boston at the age of twenty-one but returned to Europe for further training at Düsseldorf and in Rome. On the Continent, he was attracted to pastoral scenes, sketching castles along the Rhine and taking hiking expeditions among the Alps. Bierstadt returned to the United States in 1857 and painted in New England. The following year the bearded, sharp-featured artist seized the opportunity to see the trans-Mississippi regions for the first time, when he joined Colonel Frederick W. Lander on a survey party that set out for the West from St. Louis. This expedition literally opened new vistas for Bierstadt and shaped the rest of his artistic career, establishing his place in the history of both the American West and American art.
The explorer, scientist, and artist traveled hand...
(The entire section is 1729 words.)
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