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 William (Peter Bernard) Heine  (1827 - 1885)



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Lived/Active: District Of Columbia / Germany      Known for: expedition artist, illustration, landscape

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
View of Cruger's Island and the Catskill Mountains
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in 1827 in Dresden, Germany, William Heine (Peter Bernard William) studied at the Dresden Academy and subsequently worked as an architectural and scene painter for the court theater of his native city. After leaving Germany, he traveled widely, and is best known for his illustrations and paintings inspired by his participation in numerous expeditions around the globe, especially South America and Asia.

In 1849, Heine,aided by Alexander von Humboldt, emigrated to the United States as a result of political turmoil in Europe. He had a brief residence in New York City, where he, in partnership with Julius Kummer, was listed as a landscape painter and teacher. In 1851, soon after arriving in New York, he met Ephraim George Squier, and traveled with him as draftsman to Nicaragua. He sent back letters and drawings describing the pre-Columbian antiquities he saw to the American Art-Union, which published them in their bulletin.

In 1852-55, he accompanied Matthew Perry as principal artist on his expedition to Japan. He later published illustrated accounts of the expedition in English and German, and his watercolor sketches were lithographed for Perry's narrative of 1856. His paintings were part of a panorama "China and Japan Illustrated" produced by Joseph Kyle and Jacob Dallas. Heine also illustrated travel accounts by other authors.

In 1850-59, he exhibited views of the Alps, Nicaragua, Japan, China, and North America at the American Art-Union, the National Academy of Design, Washington Art Association, and elsewhere. In May 1855 he became an American citizen.

In 1859 he returned to Europe, stopping in Dresden on his way to join the Prussian expedition to East Asia, where he traveled in 1860-61.

With the outbreak of the Civil War he returned to the United States and joined the Union army. In 1868 he was promoted to the rank of general. Heine was appointed consular clerk of the United States in 1866 and served at consulates in Paris, Florence, and Liverpool until August 1871.

Peter Heine died in 1885 in Loessnitz, near Dresden.

Sources include:
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"
De Courcy E. McIntosh, "Magazine Antiques", 9/2004

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

William Heine is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Painted in Latin America

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