Albert Bierstadt

Albert Bierstadt

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) is best known for his spectacular landscapes of the unsettled west. He was born in Germany, and was two years old when his family emigrated to America and settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Beginning in 1859, he made three trips west, each time making oil sketches on paper. When he returned to his studio, he used these sketches and oil studies to paint huge, detailed panoramic views (some 6 feet by 10 feet) of Western scenery. His paintings emphasized the spectacular landscapes, sometimes exaggerating what he had seen and changing a few details to make the scene more interesting. At the height of his career, he lived in a mansion on the Hudson; but his work fell out of favor, the mansion burned, and he died in New York City flat broke.