Biography of William Merritt Bradford (1823-1892)

American painter born in Fairhaven (Massachusetts) April 30, 1823 and died in New York City on April 25, 1892. He/She devoted himself especially to the painting of seascapes, which attracted the attention of the public by its novelty and its effects of color.

Artist Quaker and self-taught, formed painting ships and seascapes that contemplated along the coasts of Massachusetts, Labrador, and Nova Scotia; He/She participated in several expeditions to the Arctic with Isaac Hayes and was the first American painter in portraying the icy regions of the North. Their Steamer 'Panther' in Melville Bay, under the Light of the Midnight Sun was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1875. Bradford was also a member of the National Academy of design, in New York.

The coast of Labrador (oil on canvas, 1866). Art Institute of Chicago.

His style as a painter picks up somewhat the influence of his contemporary Albert van Beest, who worked with him for a time in Fairhaven; but Bradford was thoroughly interested in detail, while the aim of Beest was rather the overall effect. The poem by John Greenleaf Whittier "Amy Wentworth" was inspired by a picture of Bradford and is dedicated to him.