Edward Beyer

Birth: 1820


Edward Beyer (1820–1865), was a noted German pastoral and landscape artist of the Antebellum Era (1781–1860) and an artist of the American South and New England. He was born in the Rhineland of Germany, and was a graduate of the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, or the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He first traveled to America in 1848, settling in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He visited Virginia in 1854 and stayed until about 1856 or 1857 sketching and painting a number of scenes that would appear in his "Album of Virginia", after the publication of which he returned to Germany.

In his painting of the Bellevue Plantation, the Roanoke, Virginia, homestead of the Andrew and Maria Lewis family, he depicts eight slaves working in a wheat field. "Working in the dramatic style of the Dusseldorf Academy, which emphasized atmosphere, action and drama..."

In Beyer's painting of Charleston, West Virginia, he was offered a commission for the painting from a number of businessmen in the community. Afterwards, they had a lottery to decide who among them would own the painting. It is currently owned by descendants of the man who won the lottery. "Declared a "painting trifecta" by Antiques Roadshow (U.S. TV series) appraiser Colleene Fesko, the painting of what was then Charleston, Virginia, was created in 1854 and predates the Civil War and West Virginia’s statehood.

Fesko said she was so amazed when she saw the piece, that she had to pull out her glasses to fully examine the detail of the panoramic painting... "A bunch of Charleston businessmen wanted it done and chipped in money," Helen said. Since her grandfather won the painting, it has been passed down in her family ever since... Fesko said Beyer created 40 panoramic landscape paintings of Virginia towns in the mid-19th century."

"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."

Books & Publications

Book Title Date
Album of Virginia (1858) Album of Virginia 1858
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