Danish American Artists - Ferdinand Richardt
About Ferdinand Richardt and his work
Ferdinand Richardt (1819 - 1895) was born and raised north of Copenhagen and studied art in Copenhagen. From 1855 to 1859 he lived in New York City and traveled through the eastern United States during summers. Around 1873 he left Denmark permanently, settling in the San Francisco area.
The lithograph and paintings you see below are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, and are arranged in roughly chronological order.
The Independence Hall and Mississippi River paintings, both from around 1858, now reside in the White House in Washington, DC.
Trenton High Falls is located east of Syracuse in central New York state. It was a popular tourist destination in 1858. The Munson-Williams-Proctor institute in nearby Utica now holds this painting.
The painting of the 1859 Frederiksborg Palace fire has special meaning for me. Most of my mother’s older aunts and uncles were christened in the palace chapel. Because of the fire, one of their siblings did not have that honor. Appropriately this painting now is on display in the Danish Museum of National History in the reconstructed Frederiksborg Palace in Hillerød.
Ferdinand Richardt’s lithograph of Sønder Alslev Kirke east of Nykøbing Falster is from Danske Kirker, Slotte, Herregaarde og Mindesmærker, published in 1867-68.
The Oakland Estuary separates the cities of Oakland and Alameda in California. This setting, showing an ordinary lower-income family’s home on the edge of town, seems out of place compared with Ferdinand Richardt’s earlier works. This c. 1880 painting is in the Oakland Museum of California.
The Niagara Falls painting to the right dates from around 1855. It was borrowed from the State Department and hung behind the head table for Barak Obama's 2013 inaugural luncheon in the United States Capital.