Albert van Beest, along with P.C. Schotel, and the distinguished French marine painter Theodore Gudin, was appointed artist to the Dutch Fleet by Prince Henry of the Netherlands quite early in his career, his style reflecting some of the greatest seventeenth century masters of marine painting. Around 1850 he moved to New Bedford where he met the Quaker William Bradford, later to be well known in both America and Britain for his Arctic scenes. Their collaboration, along with Robert Swain Gifford was to last for the rest of his short life, so much so that it is suggested that the whaleships were painted by Bradford, the men in the whaleboats by Swain Gifford and the water by Van Beest.
Some of his finest whaling pictures were reproduced by Currier & Ives, Endicott & Co. of New York, and Charles Taber & Co. of New Bedford