Tag Archives: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Albert Bierstadt: Painter of the American West




On January 7, 1830, Albert Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany. Just one year later, his family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was here that he began to take an interest in art. This was made apparent by the “clever crayon sketches” he would create as a young child.

When Bierstadt was about 21 years old, he tried his hand at oil painting and found that he wanted to pursue art. In 1853 he traveled back to Germany , this time to Dusseldorf, to study art with distinguished painters Andreas Aschenbach and Karl Friedman Lessing at the Royal Academy. Bierstadt remained in Dusseldorf, polishing his skills and expanding his artistic abilities until 1857.

Returning to America in 1857, Bierstadt taught art for a short season. Soon after, in 1859, his life took an exciting turn of events when he had the opportunity to travel westward with an overland survey expedition.

The young artist took advantage of his time in the west by taking many photographs of the landscape as well as sketching plenty of drawings. The sketches would serve as skeletons of paintings that Bierstadt would create in the future. The American west remained his muse throughout his life, and he traveled there frequently.

Albert Bierstadt’s paintings of the American West were popular and sold for high sums of money. Still, the artist didn’t seem to impress the art critics of his time. His unpopularity in the art world might have been attributed to the large canvases he painted on, which were considered to be an “egotistical indulgence.” Also, the way he used light in his paintings was thought to be “excessive,” as was the romanticism of his subject matter.

Regardless of art critics’ lack of acceptance of him, Albert Bierstadt’s art remained sought-out by the public as his career grew. He became a member of the National Academy in 1860 and was a medal winner in Germany, Belgium, Bavaria, and Austria. He secured a studio in New York City, which he kept from 1861 to 1879. In 1862 Bierstadt continued to build his artistic success by becoming a member of the Century Association.

Bierstadt’s art often featured the landscapes he had seen in his travels across the American west. The painted landscapes, though rugged, were bathed in extravagant light, giving them a romantic feel. The artist paid great attention to detail and adorned his paintings with “mist, fog, and clouds” to create the effects he desired. Bierstadt used colors in an exaggerated way so as to make his paintings more ideal than realistic. Art collectors were (and are) strongly drawn to this type of work.

Albert Bierstadt didn’t paint landscapes of the American west exclusively. His works also feature international locations. Yosemite Park (Oakland, California), Staubbauch Falls (close to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland), Mount Corcoran, Lake Lucerne (Switzerland), the Bernese Alps, the Wolf River (Kansas), and the Oregon Trail are all specific locations that were captured in Bierstadt’s paintings.

Throughout his career, Bierstadt exhibited his artwork at the Boston Athenaeum (1859-1864), the Boston Art Club (1873-1880), and the Brooklyn Art Association (1861-1879). Some of his works are currently housed at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts as well as other prestigious museums.

On February 18, 1902, Albert Bierstadt died in New York City. He is buried alongside his parents in New Bedford’s Rural Cemetery.

German-American painter Albert Bierstadt made a success of his life. He died having created between 500 and 4,000 paintings. To this day, Bierstadt’s art is in demand. His original paintings are sporadically made available for purchase, and the prices at which they sell continue to climb. Commercial prints of his work are most common. In capturing the heart of the American west, Albert Bierstadt also captured the hearts of the American people, which brought him great success in his artistic career.

In your opinion, what artists changed culture and society in significant ways? Who is your personal hero of the art world? We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to share your thoughts in the “comments” section below.





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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: A Father of Expressionism


There are artists who create out of the best that is in them, and their contribution to the world is both beautiful and significant. Other artists create not just pieces of art, but art movements that actually shape culture and change the art world. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was an artist who created significant pieces of artwork and changed the world through his creations.

On May 6, 1880, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was born in Aschaffenburg. He studied art and architecture at the Technische Hochschule, which was located in Dresden. It was at the Technische Hochschule that Kirchner was exposed to artistic subjects such as freehand drawing, perspective drawing, and art history. He thrived at his university and graduated in 1905.

Kirchner made many friends while studying at Technische Hochschule, a few of which were Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Erich Heckel, and Fritz Bleyl. It was with these friends that Ernst Ludwig Kirchner developed an artistic group called Die Brucke (“The Bridge”). This group would mature to become extremely significant to the world of art, for it was partly from Die Brucke that Expressionism was born.

Die Brucke had one main goal: “to eschew the prevalent traditional academic style and find a new mode of artistic images-1expression.” Die Brucke’s goal was reached and even exceeded as the group’s founders integrated older artwork of master artists with new art techniques. All of this innovative artistic activity was headed up by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the mastermind behind Die Brucke.

Although Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a world changing artist, he was also a tortured soul. He ended his life on June 15, 1938, depriving society of the treasure that he was. While Kirchner is no longer with us, his art is, and it is still speaking to us all these years later. 
Indeed, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was more than an artist — he was a father of an artistic style called Expressionism, which is now cemented into modern culture.

In your opinion, what artists changed culture and society in significant ways? Who is your personal hero of the art world? We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to share your thoughts in the “comments” section below.




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