American, 1823-1892

Icebergs, 1883

oil on canvas backed by panel
signed, dated and inscribed lower right "W. Bradford / 1883 N.Y." signed and dated on the reverse
12 x 20 inches

  • Provenance: Property from a distinguished American collection.
    The marine painter, William Bradford, was born and raised in Fairhaven Massachusetts, near New Bedford, to Quaker parents who discouraged his passion for art. Despite his parents' disapproval, he made painting his career in the early 1850s, working as a ship portrait artist.

    In 1854, Bradford established a studio in New Bedford with Dutch painter Albert Van Beest and acquired a local reputation for his seascapes and whaling pictures. Sometime between 1854 and 1857, Bradford made the first of eight trips to Labrador, fueling a long and consuming interest in the Arctic. During much of his career, his work focused on the Arctic region, which he depicted with strong color and spectacular lighting.

    He returned from an 1862 journey to Labrador with sketches of the dangerous frozen region and the ships that navigated it and transformed them into luminous finished paintings in his studio. Those pictures, in turn, financed his next excursion to the Arctic. Bradford eventually became a popular lecturer on the region, publishing an album of 29 photographs of Greenland in 1869. The book, The Arctic Regions (London: S. Low, Marston. Low and Searle, 1873) was illustrated with Bradford's own photographs.

    Bradford made his last trip to the Arctic in 1869, but continued to execute paintings of icebergs, frozen shorelines, and icebound ships for the rest of his career. He was elected in 1874 as an associate member of the National Academy of Design in New York.

    The current composition, Icebergs, 1883 is a masterful example from the artist's Arctic oeuvre, depicting the dramatic sky, the coldness of the iceberg and the movements of the vessels for which he is so widely celebrated.
    Framed dimensions:18 3/4 x 26 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches

    Tags: oil painting, listed artist, Hudson River School, Labrador, Arctic scene, 19th century, seascape / coastal / marine
  • Condition: unlined canvas, in very good condition, some varnish inconsistencies, in a superior quality reproduction frame

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October 28, 2021 6:00 PM EDT
Milford, CT, US

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