William Bradford Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
4-30-1823 Fairhaven, USA - 4-25-1892 New York, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
William Bradford the artist had been raised a Quaker near the bustling whaling port of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Bradford started to paint in New Bedford in 1852, having flopped as the owner of a dress store. Setting up an art studio overlooking the harbor, he discovered his first subjects, the whale ships in port, painting oil portraits and their ships for owners and captain. After a short time, he ventured out to Boston to paint more lucrative oil paintings of the larger clipper ships of that port. William Bradford was self-taught in art, but in 1854 he gained as a teacher and sometimes collaborator a recent immigrant Albert Van Beest, who was trained in the Dutch school of seascape oil painting. Under his influence, Bradford began to paint more ambitious scenes of maritime activity.
By 1861 William Bradford had moved to the Tenth Street Studio Building in New York City. There he met Frederic Edwin Church, whose brave adventurous travels to the Andes and those of fellow New Bedford artist, Albert Bierstadt, to the American West, encouraged Bradford to continue an interest he already had in the Arctic regions. Bradford started a progression of northern voyages that would bring him acclaim as the oil painter of the polar regions. Six cruises in chartered schooners brought him to the coast of Labrador, where ice-obstructed harbors, crude summer settlements of Newfoundland fishermen and the unmistakable light of a cold atmosphere gave him subjects that advanced his reputation and notoriety.
In early July 1869, he chartered the small whaling steamer, Panther, and set out from St. Johns, Newfoundland, for Greenland. Among the travelers were two photographers, who made collodion plates of icebergs, coastal promontories, and Eskimo villages while Bradford sketched from shipboard and onshore. From this material, William Bradford would work up in studios in New York, London, and San Francisco, the oil paintings for which he became world famous.
In England for a part of each year between 1871 and 1874, he enjoyed the most rewarding period of his career, due to some degree to the commission of a work of art by Queen Victoria. After London, William Bradford set up a seasonal studio in San Francisco, where he painted from 1875 to 1881 both his Arctic scenes and new ones of close by Yosemite Valley, the Sierra Nevada, and other western mountain destinations.
By the time of his death in 1892, Bradford's reputation, along with those of his fellow artist-explorers, was declining. The greater part of half a century would pass before a revival of interest in his paintings began to occur, in exhibitions, and publications, not to mention very high prices realized for his works, ensuring his position as one of the world's artist.
Art Movement: Hudson River School.
Artists Influencing William Bradford: Albert Van Beest.
He Traveled To Canada, Greenland, England, the Artic.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.