THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
Albert Bierstadt (BEER stat) was born in Prussia, which was a large German state. (This land today is in Germany, Poland, and Russia.) He came to America with his parents when he was two years old. He grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
As he grew up, he taught himself to paint. Then he decided to go to Dusseldorf, Germany to study with a group of artists. They toured Europe. He took photographs and made sketches from which he later painted landscapes. Sometimes he put himself in dangererous situations just to capture a particular scene. He stayed in Europe four years and then returned to the United States.
He painted the magnificent scenes in Yosemite. When people saw the paintings, they wanted to go there and see it for themselves. As a result, so many people went to Yosemite, that the land was no longer unspoiled, and Bierstadt went elsewhere to paint.
In 1859 the artist made a trip to the Colorado and Wyoming territories with Frederick Lander, who was in charge of a government survey expedition. He was inspired to paint this beautiful scene of the Rocky Mountains. Indians are encamped in the valley. They are not the main focus of the subject, but they are important to the overall effect. The mountains and the sky are the subject. He highlights certain areas of the painting to add interest. This is a large painting; six feet high and ten feet long.
Bierstadt was part of a group of artists called Luminists, a term which comes from the word luminous which means radiating or reflecting light. This group of artists used light in their paintings as Thomas Kinkaid does today. Notice Bierstadt's use of light in the paintings below.
Deer at Sunset
Sunset Over a Mountain Lake
After Colonel Lander died in the Civil War, Bierstadt named the highest peak in the painting Lander's Peak. The painting sold for $25,000 in 1865. That was a lot of money in those days. Later, it is said, he bought it back and either gave it to his brother or sold it to him.
In 1867 he married, and he and his new bride went to London. There he met with Queen Victoria. His wife, Rosalie, needed to live in a warm climate for health reasons. She lived in Nassau, and her husband began to paint the tropics of Nassau as a result of his stays there.
He died suddenly in 1902 and people seemed to forget his work until the 1960's. People became more interested in preserving our national lands, and his paintings began to be shown again.
Wilder, Jesse Bryant. Art History for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007.
The Oregon Trail
See index in the left column
Biography of Bierstadt
from the National Gallery of Art
Details of Lake Lucerne
look for the people in the fields
and the boats on the lake
in the close-ups
Paintings by Bierstadt
A LIBRARY OF
ONLINE BOOKS and BOOK PREVIEWS
Pioneer photographers of the far west: a biographical dictionary, 1840-1865
by Peter E. Palmquist, Thomas R. Kailbourn (selected pages) Order
Modern painters and their paintings: for the use of schools and learners in art
by Sarah Tytler 1873(full view) Order
An Endless Panorama of Beauty
by Joyce Henri Robinson, Leo G. Mazow (selected pages) Order
Albert Bierstadt - New York Magazine Oct. 9, 1972
The Homes of America
edited by Martha Joanna Lamb (selected pages)
American painters: with one hundred and four examples of their work engraved on wood
by George William Sheldon 1881 (full view)
The Century Volume 3
Preview these Amazon books using the links below.
Painters and the American West: the Anschutz collection
by Joan Carpenter Troccoli, Marlene Chambers, Jane Comstock, Sarah Anschutz Hunt, Denver Art Museum (selected pages)
Painters of the Wasatch Mountains
by Robert S. Olpin, Ann W. Orton, Thomas F. Rugh (selected pages)
What Every American Should Know about American History
by Alan Axelrod, Charles Phillips (selected pages)
Great masters of American art
by Jordi Vigue (selected pages)
Heritage Fine Art and Illustration Dallas Signature Auction Catalog #628
by Watson-Guptill(no preview)
Chronology of the American West
by Scott C. Zeman(selected pages)
Music: Clarinet Concerto In A Major, K 622: Allegro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Most Recent Comments ( See more comments on this page ) 2012-09-23
Thank you so very much for creating this resource for children. I homeschool my 8 year old daughter and I am going to use it to introduce some famous artists to her. The worksheet are a wonderful way to help kids really learn and remember the information. Thanks again, this is a great service to children who use it.
Wow, this is amazing! Imagine if you could paint like that! Its better than a photograph.
seeing her first experience was emotional rather than aesthetic journey through space and time vicar
The two focal points in the paint are the imposing snow-capped peak of Lander and bright light surrounding the fall and spring. With this bill, a claim, he could be the Swiss Alps
Leave a Comment View all Comments
Famous Artists in this Series
Index to Famous Paintings
Lessons for Kids
Biographies in this Series
Reference citations information for these biographies
the United States
George Washington John Adams Thomas Jefferson James Madison James Monroe Andrew Jackson Martin Van Buren Abraham Lincoln Theodore Roosevelt Franklin D. Roosevelt Harry S. Truman Dwight D. Eisenhower John F. Kennedy Lyndon B. Johnson Jimmy Carter Ronald Reagan Barack Obama Calvin Coolidge American Patriots Benjamin Franklin Francis Scott Key Deborah Sampson Molly Pitcher World Leaders Constantine Alexander the Great Winston Churchill Margaret Thatcher Inventors Alexander Graham Bell Johann Gutenberg Cyrus McCormick The Wright Brothers Henry Ford Thomas A. Edison Sequoyah Nikola Tesla Michael Faraday Dean Kamen Jack Kilby Leonardo Da Vinci Donald O'Neal Explorers Christopher Columbus Meriwether Lewis Robert Peary John Muir Matthew Henson Sir Edmund Hillary Kit Carson Johnny Appleseed Daniel Boone Women who made
Clara Barton Helen Keller Florence Nightingale Joan of Arc Amelia Earhart Annie Oakley Susan B. Anthony Elizabeth Keckly Harriet Tubman Anne Frank Eleanor Roosevelt Madam C.J. Walker Sadako Sasaki Henrietta Lacks Scientists George Washington Carver Sir Isaac Newton Marie Curie Louis Pasteur Albert Einstein Galileo Lise Meitner Norman Borlaug Benjamin Banneker Educators Noah Webster Booker T. Washington Aristotle Mary McLeod Bethune Physicians Hippocrates Walter Reed Albert Schweitzer Religious Leaders George Muller Increase Mather Athletes Lou Gehrig Wilma Rudolph Tiger Woods Michael Phelps Civil Rights
Martin Luther King Rosa Parks Sojourner Truth Frederick Douglass Mary Ann Shadd Cary James Forten Gandhi César Chávez William Wilberforce Nelson Mandela Composers Beethoven Mozart Authors Laura Ingalls Wilder Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) Ernest Hemingway Greg Mortenson Phillis Wheatley Artists John James Audubon Gutzon Borglum Ansel Adams Dale Chihuly Van Gogh Michelangelo Rembrandt Grandma Moses Cassatt Renoir Cezanne Rockwell
Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin
Picture courtesy of The ArtChive Patron Program
Sunset pictures courtesy Wikimedia Commons