Ferdinand (Joachim) Richardt (1819-1895)

Ferdinand Richardt, whose full name was Joachim Ferdinand Richardt, was born in Brede, Denmark, just north of Copenhagen, and studied at the Royal Art Academy in Copenhagen with Bertel Thorvaldsen, Gustav Hetsch, and J.L.Lund. Early on he received support from the Danish Crown to travel, sketch, and paint landscapes and castles, and a number of his paintings soon entered the royal collections. His lithographs of Danish and Swedish manor houses began appearing in 1844, and were widely acquired by Scandinavia’s landed gentry until the series ended in 1870. In 1855, Richardt embarked on a sojourn to America, reputedly at the invitation of William Vanderbilt who was said to have paid him $14,000 for a painting of Niagara Falls. This four year visit allowed Richardt to produce over one hundred landscape canvases of Niagara Falls, the Mississippi River, Mammoth Cave, Philadelphia, and other scenic tourist destinations. When shown in two New York exhibitions, the works were favorably reviewed. By 1860, Richardt was back in Copenhagen displaying his American “prospects” to the Danish public and continuing his lithographic productions. During that decade he married, exhibited annually at Denmark’s Charlottenborg salon, and traveled to Italy and England where Queen Victoria invited him to show his work at Windsor Castle. During these years Richardt also produced a large number of Copenhagen and Stockholm city views, as well as pure landscapes and architecture studies. In 1873, the artist immigrated with his family to the United States, stopping for a year and a half at Niagara Falls, before arriving in San Francisco in 1875. During his final 20 years on the West Coast, Richardt specialized in marine and city views, and depicted the majestic redwood groves north and south of San Francisco, even then being rapidly cut down. Several fine Richardt canvases of Yosemite Valley are also known, although most of his travels were closer to home. In 1876 he moved across the water to the city of Oakland, but maintained an active exhibition and teaching schedule on both sides of the bay through the 1880s. He died in Oakland in 1895 and is buried in the city’s Mountain View Cemetery, designed by Frederik Law Olmsted. In America Richardt exhibited at New York’s Stuyvesant Institute (1857), the National Academy of Design (1859),the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (1874, 1875, 1876), the Mechanic’s Institute, and the San Francisco Art Association during the 1870s and 1880s. His works are held today by the Bowers Museum, the De Young Museum, the Greenville County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art,the Smithsonian Institution, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Oakland Museum of California, the U.S. Department of State, and The White House Permanent Collection. In Denmark, his works are found in the Statens Museum for Kunst, the Nationalmuseet, the Thorvaldsens Museum, Frederiksborg Castle, and in many other collections, both public and private.

Snow-capped Mountain with Rushing Stream (pair)

by Ferdinand (Joachim) Richardt (1819-1895)

Medium DetailOil on paper
Dimensions6 5/8 x 5 inches Framed: 15 x 12 1/2 inches

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