Franklin Dullin Briscoe, Marine Painter

Franklin Dullin Briscoe (1844 – 1903)

Breezy Northern New York Bay, 1877

64 x 110 cm

Oil on canvas

Full of dramaturgy, Franklin Dullin Briscoe has staged the view of the northern New York Bay through light-dark contrasts. The viewer experiences a rainy and windy day, the distance is veiled by rain showers. Various vehicles are on the move on the choppy sea. In the slightly shadowed foreground of the picture, near a bulwark, fishermen in a boat are hauling in their net. Another fishing vessel on the right is struggling against the waves with its sails set. The three fishermen tug at their net.

Through the „chiaroscuro“ (light-shadow effects) Briscoe achieves a pronounced plasticity of the waves. He entices the viewer’s eye to wander across the canvas, as the different levels of the image only gradually reveal themselves. At the same time, the light emphasizes the struggle against the moving sea as the focal point.

This pictorial motif must have been of particular importance to Briscoe, as he made it in several versions, the others of which were more fleetingly elaborated. The painting in the International Maritime Museum Hamburg may be considered the major work of the subject, as it surpasses the other works in size and painterly quality.

Franklin Dullin Briscoe was born in Baltimore in 1844. He was a student of Edward Moran, whose influence is clearly reflected in his work. Although he sometimes took up other subjects, today he is known almost exclusively as a marine painter. Even during his lifetime, Briscoe’s paintings were highly regarded: in 1891, 10 typical paintings by him served as models for chromolithographs offered to subscribers of the art magazine „Art Amateur.“ Franklin Dullin Briscoe died in Philadelphia in 1903.