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Albert Bierstadt letter collection, 1880-1893

Albert Bierstadt letter collection, 1880-1893

Bierstadt, Albert, 1830-1902

Painter

Representative image for Albert Bierstadt letter collection, 1880-1893

The letters of Albert Bierstadt in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2008. The letters have been scanned in their entirety and total 30 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Collection Information

Size: 13 items

Summary: This small collection comprises 13 letters written by renowned Hudson River School landscape painter Albert Bierstadt between 1860 and 1900. The majority of the letters were penned in the last two decades of his life.

Bierstadt writes specifically of his work in several of the letters and refers to two paintings, "Laramie Peak" and "The Jungfrau". In one letter he writes of the inspiration he finds in nature through his love of the mountains. Bierstadt invites friends to his studio in New York City, mentions a trip to Yosemite in the 1870s, and writes letters of introduction on behalf of friends. Two of the letters concern commissions and discuss financial matters.

Biographical/Historical Note

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) was a landscape painter from New York, N.Y.

Provenance

Letters to his sister, Mr. Jules Levita, Mr. Adams, Mr. Stedman, Mrs. Ely, and an unidentified person, donated 1955-1957 by Charles Feinberg; letters to Mr. Rives and Mr. Cooke, purchased by the Archives of American Art, 1956 from Charles Hamilton Autographs; the letter to Mr. Coffin, purchased by AAA from Steele, and the letter to General Miles donated 1976 by Mrs. Miles Reber, granddaughter-in-law of General Nelson.

Related Materials

Funding

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

A Finding Aid to the Albert Bierstadt Letter Collection, 1860-1900, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.bieralbe
Biographical Note
Albert Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany, in January 1830. His family emigrated to the United States when he was two years of age and settled in Bedford, Massachusetts.
In 1853 Bierstadt traveled to Germany to study painting at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. In 1858, following his return to the United States, he gained national attention for organizing a large exhibition of paintings including fifteen of his own works. Bierstadt drew inspiration from the painters of the Hudson River School, and regularly visited the White Mountains of New Hampshire to make sketches for his landscape paintings.
In 1859 Bierstadt traveled to the Colorado and Wyoming territories sketching landscapes in the company of a United States government survey expedition. On his return he took studio space at the new Tenth Street Studio Building in New York City and began a series of large-scale western landscape paintings, including
Yosemite Valley
and
Thunderstorm in the Rocky Mountains
. These paintings, known for their theatrical and romantic depiction of the grandeur and drama of the American West, brought Bierstadt great popularity during the 1860s.
Bierstadt's paintings were widely exhibited in the United States and abroad and commanded some of the highest prices in American art at the time, although his reputation began to decline somewhat in the 1880s in the face of changing public tastes.
Bierstadt was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902 and a member of the National Academy of Design from 1860 until his death in 1902.
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection, items are arranged as one chronological series.
Series 1: Albert Bierstadt Letters, 1860-1900 (Box 1; 13 items)
Provenance
Letters to his sister, Mr. Jules Levita, Mr. Adams, Mr. Stedman, Mrs. Ely, and an unidentified person, donated 1955-1957 by Charles Feinberg; letters to Mr. Rives and Mr. Cooke, purchased by the Archives of American Art, 1956 from Charles Hamilton Autographs; the letter to Mr. Coffin, purchased by AAA from Steele, and the letter to General Miles donated 1976 by Mrs. Miles Reber, granddaughter-in-law of General Nelson.
Processing Information
Portions of the collection were microfilmed as separate collections on reels D8 and 2787. Other letters were not microfilmed but maintained as separate manuscript collections. All of the related letters by Bierstadt were compiled as one collection and described by Stephanie Ashley in 2007 and digitized in 2008 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The letters were digitized in 2008 and are available online via the Archives of American Art's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Albert Bierstadt letter collection, 1880-1893. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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