WILLIAM BRADFORD (1823-1892)
WILLIAM BRADFORD (1823-1892)
WILLIAM BRADFORD (1823-1892)
WILLIAM BRADFORD (1823-1892)
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PROPERTY FROM A PROMINENT PRIVATE COLLECTION
WILLIAM BRADFORD (1823-1892)

Ships off a Northern Headland

Details
WILLIAM BRADFORD (1823-1892)
Ships off a Northern Headland
oil on canvas
24 x 36 in. (61 x 91.5 cm.)
Painted circa 1860.
Provenance
The artist.
Daniel Hathorne Barstow, Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, acquired from the above.
Mrs. Catherine A. Barstow, Massachusetts, by descent from the above.
Private collection, New England, by descent.
Christie’s, New York, 20 July 2005, lot 318, sold by the above.
Godel & Co. Fine Art, New York, acquired from the above.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2005.
Exhibited
Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, on extended loan.
Winona, Minnesota, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, 2005-22, on extended loan.

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Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

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Lot Essay

William Bradford was born in Salem on the North Shore of Massachusetts and raised in the whaling town of New Bedford, near Cape Cod. He made his first voyage in July 1856, sailing to the island of Grand Manan and the Bay of Fundy between Maine and Nova Scotia. The artist returned there on a later trip in 1860, and his scenes inspired by the Bay of Fundy typically feature vigorously active fishermen in small boats on choppy seas, as seen in the similar work Fishermen on the Bay of Fundy, formerly in the collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, as well as in the present work.

Defined by Bradford scholar Richard Kugler as “one of the artist’s major marine paintings,” (unpublished letter, September 7, 2005) Ships off a Northern Headland likely depicts the coast off the island of Grand Manan, and demonstrates the artist’s acute attention to detail and accuracy in his portrayal of all sorts of vessels and their functions. Here, a packet ship at center left may be following the Great Circle Route, which rounded the southern tip of Nova Scotia before crossing the Atlantic towards Liverpool, England or Le Havre, France. A clipper ship can be seen in the distance at right, while the fishermen in the foreground navigate the bustling waters, intentionally dwarfed by the choppy waves and dramatic sky.

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