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View of Edgehill Plantation, 1855
Edward Beyer (1820 – 1865)

View Artist Bio
Oil on canvas
23 x 35 inches
Signature Details: Signed lower left
Status: Private Collection, Virginia

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 Düsseldorf 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 such as Edgehill--one of three known canvases done by the artist in Salem. A masterwork of Southern art, View of Edgehill Plantation offers a panoramic, descriptive scene that shows the Neo-classical mansion surrounded by landscaped gardens, cultivated and productive fields of wheat, and slave laborers at work.

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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This essay is copyrighted by Robert M. Hicklin Jr., Inc. and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission.

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