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Albert Bierstadt
Date: 1830 - 1902
Biography: Born in Solingen, near Düsseldorf, Germany, Albert Bierstadt came to the United States as a child and grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He first exhibited a landscape in Boston in 1851 and again in 1853. In the latter year, at the age of 23, he returned to Düsseldorf to study painting under Carl Friedrich Lessing and Andreas Achenbach. In 1857, he returned home and spent that summer in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In the spring of 1859 Bierstadt joined a surveying expedition that left St. Louis to map an overland wagon route to the Pacific. From this trip he gained his first impression of the western scenes that were to become so much a part of his artistic life. He spent the summer sketching in the Wind River country of Wyoming (then part of the Nebraska Territory). Onn his return East, he settled in New York and exhibited his first Rocky Mountain picture in 1860, the same year that he was elected an academician of the National Academy of Design. His success was immediate, and during the next three years he painted many pictures taken from his western sketches. In 1863 he made a second western trip, and a third from 1871 to 1873. He also made trips to Europe in 1867, 1878, and 1883. Bierstadt produced impressive studio canvases that combined great detail with the dramatic and impressive; however, many of his huge studies are not longer extant, and his reputation today rests for the most part on less ambitious efforts. For a number of years Bierstadt lived in Irvington, New York, although from 1880 to 1897 he kept a studio at 1271 Broadway in New York City. In 1882 his home was destroyed by fire, and he moved to the city where he continued to paint until his death of February 18, 1902.