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 Edward Beyer  (1820 - 1865)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/Virginia / Germany      Known for: topographic town-landscape and panoramic painting

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Ad Code: 3
Edward Beyer
from Auction House Records.
Ohio River Landscape
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in the Rhineland of Germany, Edward Beyer became a landscape painter of romantic pastoral views. His style combined lessons learned at the Dusseldorf Academy with Classicism and Romanticism. Some of his canvases were unusual because they had industrial scenes such as railroads crossing the landscape, which meant juxtaposing romanticism with jarring realism. Critics indicate he made these combinations successfully.

In the 1840s, he worked as an artist in Dresden, and then he and his wife emigrated to the United States, arriving in 1848. They first lived in in Newark, New Jersey, and in 1850, moved to Philadelphia. Some of his painting at that time included scenes of Niagara Falls and a large panorama in collaboration with French-born Leo Elliott. The panorama was titled "The Wars for Liberty in Upper Italy, Rome, and Hungary", and it depicted more than 90,000 figures in a battle scene with a spectacular landscape background. Beyer took this panorama on a tour of cities including New York and Cincinnati, its last venue. The exhibit of this work meant transporting a heavy and large piece of canvas, and arranging for the hall and program details. Adults were charged 25 cents admission and children 12 cents. This panorama has disappeared, so its location today is unknown.

Following this tour, Beyer painted in Virginia from and did more panoramic views, albeit on a smaller scale. Most of his paintings of Virginia were from the western part where there were mountains, and the result for Beyer was a group of paintings titled "The Album of Virginia". In Richmond, he sold subscriptions for five dollars each to have the 40 paintings converted into three-color print lithographs, a job that was then done the next year in Germany. The folios were issued in 1857 and 1858, and a complete set of the "Album of Virginia" is now in the Virginia Historical Society at Richmond.

By May, 1858 Beyer had returned to Richmond with copies of his 40 prints which were then bound and copyrighted. The folios were issued in 1857 and 1858.

After this publication, Beyer returned to Germany and created another panorama, this one with 126 scenes from America which chronicled his travels from the time he first left Germany for America until his return to Germany. He toured this canvas throughout Germany

Edward Beyer died in 1865 and his work has remained obscure since then.

Division of Education and Outreach, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia.

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
An artist best known for his mid-nineteenth-century views of Virginia, Edward Beyer was born in the German Rhineland in 1820.  He studied at the Dusseldorf Academy and worked in Dresden before coming to the United States around 1848.

Beyer was one of the earliest professional landscape artists working in America--active in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia during the 1850s, where he produced landscapes in a precise and detailed topographical style that was informed by his classical Düsseldorf training.

From 1854-1856, Beyer sketched and painted extensively in western Virginia, portraying picturesque market towns, landmarks, resort springs, and plantations.

Beyer incorporated many of his scenic views of the state in his illustrated Album of Virginia-- a rare folio of over 40 color lithographs which were printed in Germany and issued in Richmond in 1857 and 1858.   After that time the artist returned to Germany, where in 1863, he exhibited his successful panorama of 150 views of America.

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