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 Alfred Thompson Bricher  (1837 - 1908)

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Lived/Active: New York/New Hampshire      Known for: coastal views, marine, landscape, genre painting

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Ad Code: 2
Alfred Thompson Bricher
from Auction House Records.
Coastal View
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Works by Alfred Bricher are located in the following Rhode Island collections:

Preservation Society of Newport County:
Building location: Chepstow
1. Oil on canvas [untitled]--Northshore (Massachusetts) seascape (19th c.) (acc.# PSNC.8624)

Rhode Island School of Design:
ACCESS RESTRICTED. APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
1. Watercolor/pencil drawing, Sakonnet Beach (mid 19th-early 20th c.) (acc.# 1989.106)
2. Watercolor drawing, Clearing Up (acc.# 1997.105.1)

Source:
Unveiled: a directory and guide to 19th century born artists active in Rhode Island, and where to find their work in publicly accessible Rhode Island collections
by Elinor L. Nacheman


Biography from Spanierman Gallery:
Alfred Thompson Bricher is best known for Luminist views of deserted shorelines edged with dramatic rocky outcroppings and views of the tranquil seas, where sailboats glide on still waters.  He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the son of English immigrants, and his youth was spent in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1851, he became a clerk in a store in Boston, and he may have studied art there at the Lowell Institute. During his early years in Boston, he became familiar with the art of the Hudson River School, and was specifically inspired by the work of the Luminists, John Kensett, Martin Johnson Heade, Sanford Gifford, and Fitz Hugh Lane. In 1864, Lane’s works were shown at the Boston Atheneum, and Bricher’s studio in Boston was in the same building as Heade’s. By 1859, Bricher had established a studio in Boston, where he displayed sketches of open-air works.

In the 1860s, Bricher was creating marine subjects, working at Mt. Desert Island in Maine and in Northampton, Massachusetts. He found other subjects in locales in New England and New York state. He also began to use watercolor during the ’60s, a medium in which he created many of his finest works. By the middle of the decade, he had become employed by the Louis Prang publishing house, which claimed to have invented the chromolithograph. Eventually twenty-three of Bricher’s paintings were created as chromolithographs by the firm.

In 1868, Bricher married and moved from Boston to New York, setting up his studio at 40 West 30th Street. During the next decade, he was influenced by the emergence of a younger generation of artists who were dedicated to experimenting with new techniques and developing personal styles. Affected by the art of his time, Bricher began to work in a more spontaneous and painterly manner, but he remained dedicated to capturing quiet, light-filled scenes of coastal areas and often rendered forms with a precision that reflected his continued adherence to Luminism. During the 1870s, Bricher became active in many important art associations, in particular, the American Watercolor Society. He also became affiliated with Swedenborgianism, a religion to which William Page and George Inness also subscribed. Affected in his art by the ideas of Swedenborg, Bricher created works that had a symbolic component in which forms were bathed in soft misty glows. Between 1878 and 1884, Bricher included figures in his landscapes, mostly women shown in leisure activities. These images have similarities to some contemporaneous works by Winslow Homer.

In the 1880s, Bricher adopted a more tonal approach. His colors had always been predominantly pale blues and greens with touches of intense yellow; all harmoniously blended to convey the sensations of bright, sunny days. Now he concentrated on recording atmospheric conditions, which he conveyed by emphasizing a single, dominant color.

Following his second marriage in 1881, Bricher spent summers in Southampton, Long Island, where he created a number of views of the expansive coastline and the village. However, throughout his career, Bricher traveled extensively, visiting the coasts of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Canada.

Bricher’s work is represented in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Indianapolis Museum of Art; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Dallas Art Museum, as well as many other public and private collections.

LNP

© The essay herein is the property of Spanierman Gallery LLC and is copyrighted by Spanierman Gallery LLC and may not be reproduced in whole or in part, without written permission from Spanierman Gallery LLC nor shown or communicated to anyone without due credit being given to Spanierman Gallery LLC.

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
Alfred Thompson Bricher (American, 1837-1908)

Bricher was born on April 10, 1837, in New Dorp, New York and was mostly self-taught. He spent his childhood in Newburyport, MA, although he took art lessons at Lowell Institute in Boston from 1851-1858. He became a professional painter in 1858 and was a member of the American Water Color Society, the Boston Art Club, and an Associate of the National Academy in 1879. He moved permanently to NYC in 1868 and then settled in Staten Island.

He painted in Shinnecock, Narragansett, Chatham, Cape Cod, Southampton and along the MA and ME coastlines. He exhibited at the National Academy from 1868-1890 and at the Boston Athenaeum and Brooklyn Art Association from 1870-1886. He is represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery, the Terra Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Indianapolis Museum of Art and elsewhere.

Bricher was a significant second-generation Hudson River School landscapist and marine painter who is considered to be the last of the relevant American luminists. He is best known for his marine paintings depicting New England shorelines, in which crashing waves show the dynamic forces of nature.

With ease and finesse he captured the natural ambiance around the ocean and its coasts and the artist’s reverence for the presence of what is before him is apparent. Keeping in step with the philosophical beliefs of his era, the artist was concerned with equating to canvas the resplendence of nature and the morality of his convictions.

A.T. Bricher is highly sought-after and in great demand because each of his canvases and watercolors show resplendently and with confident brushwork how nature looked during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Biography from VALLEJO GALLERY, LLC, Marine Art Specialists:
Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Alfred Bricher grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts where he was influenced by the local scenes of artist's such as Fitz Hugh Lane and Martin Johnson Heade.  By 1858, after art studies at the Lowell Institute, he was painting full time along the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts.

With his strong vision of natural beauty, Bricher depicted the transcendence and luminosity of light in paintings that are filled with abiding calm and serenity.  As one observer of a Bricher scene noted; "he makes water sparkle like diamonds in a silver setting".  He was a close friend and associate of marine artist William Haseltine and stressed the firm horizontal format preferred by that artist.

By 1868, he had relocated his studio from Boston to New York where he continued to make pilgrimages to his favored shores of Massachusetts and Maine.  At Grand Manan he painted in the footsteps of another American master, Frederic Church. He exhibited at the National Academy from 1868-1900, and was elected president of the Watercolor Society in 1873.

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Alfred Bricher is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
New York Armory Show of 1913



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