19th-century landscape painter Albert Bierstadt was born in Germany and came to America with his parents at age two. Growing up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the young artist apprenticed in Europe, but the Rocky Mountains and Yosemite Valley became the subjects driving his expansive, often romanticized sense of nature. Though best known for large-scale paintings with atmospheric trees and ethereal lighting, Bierstadt was also a master of intimate detail and animal portraiture.
Chamlee’s biography-in-poems follows the arc of Bierstadt’s life and career, from youth to extraordinary success to eventual decline. Primarily in the artist’s voice, the poems also speak through other important characters, renderings of specific paintings, and the poet’s own sense of engagement. With realistic description and emotional embrace, this fine collection explores Bierstadt’s determination to depict a glorious post-war West while also revealing personal and historic loss.
See a sample of Albert Bierstadt's work in the slideshow below.
The paintings shown are in the public domain.
Buffalo Trail: The Impending Storm (Corcoran Collection, National Gallery of Art)