Comments? Do please tell us: [email protected]
With artist’s atelier stamp upper left
This drawing dates from Bridgman’s first trip to Egypt in the winter of 1873-4 which resulted in paintings which brought him worldwide acclaim. Although Paris remained his base, he still exhibited in the USA including a huge one man show of over four hundred pictures on 5th Avenue in 1890.
Born in Alabama, following the death of his father and with growing unrest in the period before the American Civil War, Bridgman and his family returned to New England, settling in New York. In 1863 Frederick was apprenticed as an engraver to the American Banknote Company, whilst also attending art classes. Three years later he travelled to France, where he remained for the rest of his life. He initially settled in Paris and worked in Jean Léon Gérome’s Atelier at the École des Beaux-Arts. He also spent time in Brittany, at Pont Aven, where the artists’ colony frequented by Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard, as well as a group of American painters, including Robert Wylie (1839–1877) was based. His success allowed him to set up a lavish studio on the Boulevard Malherbes, however, during World War I, financial losses, in part the result of gambling debts, meant that he sold his studio, moving permanently to his country house in Lyons-le-Fôret, Normandy.
Bridgman established an international reputation as an artist, exhibiting regularly throughout Europe, at the various Paris Salons, as well as at Berlin Kunst Ausstellung and the Royal Academy, London, between 1871 and 1904. In 1878, he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur, becoming an Officier in 1907. In 1881 he was elected a Member of the National Academy, New York and was also a member of the Société des Artistes Peintres, Paris.