He studied at Carl Koopmann Karlsruhe, and from 1835 to 1837 at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, under Cornelius. He traveled in France and Austria, and stayed a couple of years (1838 - 1840 and 1843-1846) in Italy. He spent some time from 1840-1843 at the Academy in Düsseldorf. Amongst his most important works is the cycle of 40 Italian landscapes - now at Munich - that have been compared by some to the famous Rottmann's cycle. After its completion in 1866 he created the Italian views and Palermo Mamellen (at Schack Museum in Munich), Civitella, Garda, Rome, Naples, Palermo etc. as well as views of Heidelberg and motifs from the surrounding area.
A rich collection of drawings and sketchbooks and some of the most important oil paintings showing southern Italian seaside landscapes between Rome and Naples as well as Palermo being in the private collection of a descendant. His paintings are represented in various museums, such as the great art galleries and museums in Darmstadt, Halle, Karlsruhe, Munich (Neue Pinakothek and Schackgalerie), Stuttgart and Zurich. The Palatinate Museum in Heidelberg has a comprehensive collection of works by Bernhard Fries.
Fries' Italian landscapes show great composition and a very careful execution.
Bernhard Fries was son of the wealthy banker, manufacturer of madder and collector of fine arts and paintings called Christian Adam Fries, Heidelberg / Germany. His very valuable art collection comprised important Dutch painting of the period 1700-1800, paintings of Lorrain, Poussin, Joseph Anton Koch and George Augustus Wallis. He is brother of the painter Ernst Fries. He was born in the art-loving family of bankers, which allowed him, unlike his colleagues - to live, travel and paint free of any financial worries. He was the nephew of the chemistry professor Karl Wilhelm Gottlob Kastner, whose pupil was Justus Liebig.
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1906). "Fries, Bernhard". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
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