Alfred Thompson Bricher was born on 10 April 1837 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; but by 1840 his family had moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1851 he received early employment as a clerk in a dry goods store in Boston, and during this time he may have studied art at the Lowell Institute. Bricher's earliest known painting is dated 1856. In 1858 he opened a studio at Newburyport. That year, while sketching at Mount Desert (ME), he met the artists, Charles Temple Dix and William S. Hasetine, who gave him profitable advice. By 1859 Bricher had a studio in Boston and may have studied with William H. Titcomb. In 1866 he made a trip West along the Upper Mississippi. L. Prang and Company, Boston, published its first chromolithograph after a landscape by Bricher the same year; eventually, the firm would purchase and publish over twenty of the artist's works. He married Susan A. Wildes, apparently for only a brief time, in 1868 and moved to New York City. He began exhibiting at the National Academy of Design, where he was elected an Associate in 1879, and at the American Water Color Society, where he was elected a member in 1873. In August 1871 Bricher was sketching at Niagara Falls. He probably made his first trip to Grand Manan Island, Canada, in 1874. Bricher may have travelled to England, as several works exhibited late in 1876 and 1877 are of English subjects. In 1876 he exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial. After 1878, perhaps influenced by the large display of European art at the Centennial, the human figure became, for a few years, more important in his work. George Walter Vincent Smith became a major patron, acquiring more than fifteen works by the artist. Bricher was among a group of twenty-two artists from the New York Artists' Fund Society who made a two-week sketching excursion along the Erie Canal to Niagara Falls in 1880. In 1881 he married Alice L. Robinson. Around 1882 he built a summer home at Southampton, Long Island, New York, and in 1890 a home at New Dorp, Staten Island, New York, where he lived until his death on 30 September 1908.


Kenneth W. Maddox