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 Albion Harris Bicknell  (1837 - 1915)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Maine      Known for: portrait, historical scene and still life painting

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Ad Code: 3
Albion Harris Bicknell
from Auction House Records.
Salem Road, Woburn
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Albion Harris Bicknell was born in Turner, Maine, and as a young boy his family settled near Boston. His studies appear to have begun at the Lowell Institute in Boston about 1855.

Bicknell was a member of the artistic fraternity of the Boston area that included William Morris Hunt, Elihu Vedder, Joseph Foxcroft Cole and John La Farge, all of whom were his close friends. Bicknell painted landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and history subjects and was also an etcher.

He painted some of the nation' most distinguished citizens, including Senators Edward Everett and Charles Sumner, Justice Salmon P. Chase, and Anson Burlingame.

In 1860 Bicknell exhibited for the first time at the Boston Athenaeum. That same year Bicknell went to Europe, settling in Paris, where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and where he worked primarily in the atelier of Thomas Couture (1815-1879), one of the most famous French painters of the mid-nineteenth century.

In 1864 Bicknell established his studio in the Studio Building in Boston and began exhibiting his work annually at the Boston Athenaeum. He continued to be active as a portrait painter in Boston in the late 1860's and early 1870's and was recognized throughout New England. About 1875 he moved to Malden, a few miles from Boston, where he lived on Parker Street. The move seems to have been related to a serious illness which struck him at that time. Years later, on September 3, 1887, the Malden City Press reported that "Mr. Bicknell's health failed him and he was an invalid for years. Until this summer he has not gone away from his Malden home for 12 years. He kept up his artistic activity, however; his old companions often came to see him . . . . He has gradually recovered his health and this summer sees him out in the world again." Meanwhile, he married Elizabeth Peabody, who hosted his annual exhibition of paintings, held at his Malden studio on the same property as his house.

During the 1880's Bicknell operated a summer sketching school "in an old farmhouse on a country road running between the busy shoe leather towns of Stoneham and Woburn." In the late 1880's and early 1890's he worked with monotypes, etchings, and illustrations.

By 1895 Bicknell had begun to work in watercolors. Also about this time he came to paint an increasing number of landscapes with cattle, which seem to have sold well at his exhibitions. After 1900 Bicknell's annual production of paintings continually decreased. His last large exhibition at his studio appears to have taken place in 1903. His wife died in 1906 and Bicknell himself died on April 23, 1915.


Wayne Craven, "Albion Harris Bicknell" Antiques, September 1974

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