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 George Brandt Bridgman  (1865 - 1943)

About: George Brandt Bridgman


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Lived/Active: New York / Canada      Known for: portrait and figure painting, life drawing, teaching

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BIOGRAPHY for George Bridgman
1865 (Bing County, Canada)
1943 (New York City)

New York / Canada

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portrait and figure painting, life drawing, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
George Brandt Bridgman, born in Canada, was a prominent teacher of figure drawing and anatomy at the Art Students League in New York City. He is remembered much more for his teaching and writing on anatomy than for his painting.

As a young artist, he went through academic training, well suited to his temperament, under the painter and sculptor Jean Leon Gerome (1824-1904) at Ecole des Beaux Arts Paris. He also studied with Gustave Boulanger.(1824-1888). The French academy required a course of rigorous study including drawing from the cast or model, the study of anatomy, and rigid exercises in perspective. This training was well suited to Bridgman's temperament.

As time passed Bridgman developed his own methods and departed from the French Neo-Classic traditions of his French Academy. Bridgman's virtuoso style incorporated a Baroque style line that remotely resembled influences of Michelangelo.

At the Art Students League, Bridgman specialized in lecturing on anatomy. He emphasized the need for the young artist to acquire skills that would enable him or her to render the human figure in a realistic manor. He demonstrated his methods and with just a few strokes of his brush, could deftly show interlocking masses that amplified bulk forms to emphasize movement. Norman Rockwell stated that Bridgman taught him a rigorous series of technical skills that he used throughout his life.

There are many student accounts of this gentleman instructor dressed in a dark vested suit complete with watch fob. He would enter the class, select a student drawing, and then re-draw or correct over the ghost image. Some of the instructors such as Robert Henri (1865-1929), also a teacher at the League, were opposed to this approach of altering student work.

George Bridgman authored and illustrated a series of drawing manuals that focused on various disciplines.

Some titles are as follows:
Bridgman's Complete Drawing From Life. The Book Of 100 Hands, The Human Machine, Constructive Anatomy, Heads Features and Faces.

Bridgman was responsible for training scores of famous illustrators and fine artists including Stan Drake, Frank Reilly, Norman Rockwell, Will Eisner, Emile Gruppe, Ella Mewhinney, and Mahonri Young.

Written and submitted March 2004 by Jim Kieley, Woodbury Ct.
His sources are Glenn Opitz, "Mantle Fielding's Guide to Painters and Sculptors" and
Bridgman's Dover Publications.

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