EDWARD BEYER (1810-1865)

The Farm of William H. Snidow
Giles County, Virginia, 1855
Oil on canvas, 20 x 29 ½ inches, in period walnut frame.
Signed lower right in red paint: “Ed. Beyer / 1855”
Inscribed on verso: “View of Wm. H. Snidow’s Farm Giles CO, Va / Painted from Nature by Ed. Beyer / Presented to Wm. H. Snidow by his friends / A. Hopp / Wm Walton & / Ed. Beyer / Salem Va Sept 1855.”

Edward Beyer was the premier painter of panoramic landscapes in antebellum Virginia and only a small number of his original oil paintings survive. Born in the Rhineland of western Germany, Beyer was a graduate of the Düsseldorf Academy of Art and traveled to the United States in 1848 with his wife, first living in Newark, New Jersey, and later Philadelphia and Cincinnati. He visited Virginia from 1854 to 1857, traveling, sketching, and painting scenes of interest that became his Album of Virginia: Or Illustration of the Old Dominion, published in 1858. Beyer died in Munich in 1865.

Located along the New River and Blue Ridge Mountains, the farm of William H. Snidow (1796–1863) is beautifully depicted in this work. Snidow acquired the property in 1836, after the death of his father, Colonel Christian Snidow (1760–1836). Among other responsibilities, William oversaw the planning of a new roadway to Roanoke Red Sulfur Springs, a popular spa and tourist destination, a short distance from his farm, on land previously owned by his uncle. This farmscape was a presentation to Snidow from the artist and the owners of the spa. A color lithograph of Roanoke Red Sulfur Springs was later included in Beyer’s Album of Virginia.

Works by Edward Beyer are represented in notable private collections and the National Gallery of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Historical Society, and Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. For more on this artist, see Historical Society of Western Virginia, Edward Beyer’s Travels Through America: An Artists View (Roanoke, 2011).

William H. Snidow, Salem, VA; Private collection; “Important Americana: Furniture and Folk Art,” Sotheby’s, New York, January 21, 2021, lot 82; David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles, Woodbury, CT.

David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles, By The People, For The People: Fine American Folk Art, 1780-1940 (Woodbury, CT, 2023), no. 21.

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