Alfred Thompson Bricher, Morning at Grand Manan, 1878.
Alfred Bricher was a painter of seascapes, primarily panoramic coastal views rendered in cool, clear colors and sharply defined compositions. He traveled up and down the North Atlantic seaboard, recording on canvas the interactions of light, water, land, and atmosphere. The quiet inlet and large rocky cliffs of Grand Manan Island, a summer resort in New Brunswick, Canada, were among his favorite subjects. This canvas, painted at the peak of Bricher's career, presents a tranquil view of the island, a radiant scene animated by the flowing surf, the rugged profile of the cliffs, and the cluster of sails against the sky at sunrise.
Morning at Grand Manan displays the aesthetic of the Luminist School of painting, which emphasized precise depictions of light and atmosphere in landscapes of panoramic scale. With its clearly defined horizon line, crisp colors, glowing light, and barely visible brushstrokes, Morning at Grand Manan exemplifies Luminist qualities of harmony and order and exhibits the strong sense of geometry that pervades Bricher's work. Bricher's paintings were popular and widely known in his time, and there was a steady market for color lithographs of his picturesque coastal scenes. After 1868, the artist took up painting in watercolor, and in 1873 became a member of the American Watercolor Society. From then on he devoted himself entirely to watercolor.