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Monday, May 21, 2012

Alfred Bricher’s Watercolor of Narragansett Pier


Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837-1908)
A Showery Day - Narragansett Pier
Watercolor on paper
Painted from nature about June 21, 1871
Signed in pencil lower right A Bricher
Provenance: Collection of Transco Energy Company.
Paper size: 20 5/8” x 9 1/4”; Framed size: 29 1/4” x 17 5/8”
$35,000.

                Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Alfred Bricher devoted most of his career to marine painting along the eastern seaboard. He was considered one of the last of the luminist artists, bringing to a close the tradition started by Thomas Cole, and carried on by such artists as Martin Johnson Heade, Frederic Church and William Haseltine. 

                Bricher was educated at Newburyport [Massachusetts] Academy, and entered upon a mercantile career in Boston, devoting his leisure to drawing and painting without professional instruction. In a few years he attained noteworthy skill in making landscape studies from nature, and after 1858 devoted himself to the art as a profession. He opened a studio in Boston, and met with some success there, but in 1871 sought a wider field in New York. Every summer Bricher traveled back north and painted the shores of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  He focused primarily on capturing such specifics as the time of day, weather conditions, and geography in his work, yet his paintings manifest a spiritual quality that was an important component of Hudson River School painting.

                This delicate watercolor painting of Narragansett Pier by the artist is that he is one of the best marine artists of his period. The soft palate and simple detail allow Bricher to carefully render the wake of the waves and the reflection of the buildings along the shores which he is so familiar.  It is this accurate and thoughtful detail that has allowed Bricher to maintain his fine reputation in the genre of American maritime art.  

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