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For more than a century Albert Bierstadts sweeping canvases of snow-capped mountain ranges radiant sunsets colorful Indian tribes and buffalo roaming the plains have captured the public imagination with a Romantic vision of a vast and beautiful continent waiting to be seen explored and conquered Today that splendid wilderness is all but vanished and with its passing Bierstadts portrayals of the beauty and drama of the Western landscape take on fresh meaning for a new generation of Americans On January 7th 1830 in Solingen Germany a small town a few miles inland from Dusseldorf Christina Bierstadt gave birth to her sixth son Albert At the time Germany was still recovering from the Napoleonic Wars making it a far from ideal place to raise children So two years later the Bierstadt family left their home and sailed to America in hopes of a better life They arrived in Bedford Massachusetts on February 22 1832 Soon after their arrival Alberts father Henry set up a cooperage shop a woodworking business that was part of the whaling industry Alberts two brothers bother followed in their fathers footsteps while Albert choose his own path It is said that Albert worked at a frame shop if true this is probably where he first became interested in art In recorded history Alberts art career began May 13 1850 with a publication of an offer to teach monochromatic painting Soon after the artist had his own studio and began to show his work Albert was a realist and painted with oils on Canvas In 1853 at the age of 23 Albert returned to his hometown of Dusseldorf Germany to study art He traveled the Westphalia countryside studying his surroundings taking notes and sketching everything the caught his eye He returned to Dusseldorf that fall where he set to work on large canvases composing and putting together parts of studies he had made Albert received training and encouragement from fellow artist
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