Albert Bierstadt, Artist – 1830-1902

Albert Bierstadt was born in German near Düsseldorf on January 7, 1830. The family moved to New Bedford, MA when he was 2. He went back to Düsseldorf at the age of 23 for 4 years and improved his craft by painting Alpine landscapes. Back in the US, he took an interest in Photography which had just become a new medium. He used it extensively to capture vistas which he would then bring to the canvas back at his home in New York.

He was wildly successful in his own time. He became internationally renowned for his works of the American West. This included not just the many paintings of Yosemite Valley area and at least a few of Hetch Hetchy Valley, but also the Pacific, Oregon Trail, and Washington state. Characteristic of his landscapes was the glow of hidden light and a suffused haze emanating from it while retaining almost crystal clarity of the scene itself (See his Sunset in The Yosemite Valley). It kind of makes you wonder if Thomas Kinkade was influenced by Bierstadt[1]

The paintings were huge, 4 or 5 feet tall. Standing in front of them you almost feel you could just walk into them.

Bierstadt died, suddenly. in 1902 and just one day before Ansel Adams was born.


[1] At least one critic of Kinkade seemed to think the same thing. According to Essayist Joan Didion saw “…unsettling similarities…” in the two artists.