Important American Paintings - September 2010
Franklin Dullin Briscoe
Breezy, 1884
Oil on canvas, 14 × 24 inches
Signed and dated at lower left: "F. D. Briscoe/1884"; inscribed on the reverse: "‘Breezy’/F. D. Briscoe/1884"

RS 766

The marine painter Franklin Dullin Briscoe was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and moved to Philadelphia with his parents in 1848. He showed an aptitude for art at an early age and studied with the famous marine painter Edward Moran (1829–1901) in 1860. Briscoe completed his training in London and Paris, but his intention to settle in France was thwarted by the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1863 and 1885, and at the Brooklyn Art Association in 1873, and was a member of three Philadelphia art institutions: the Sketch Club, the Artists’ Fund Society, and the Art Club. Briscoe searched for marine subjects along the Atlantic coast of the United States, going as far south as Florida. Although Moran exerted a profound influence on his style, some of his more romantic and colorful works borrow from the style of Philadelphia’s other great marine painter, James Hamilton (1819–1878). Briscoe’s representations of ships on the open sea and coastal views were popular among art patrons, especially after his A Breezy Day off Dieppe achieved critical acclaim at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. In 1885 he painted a large, ten-panel mural of the Battle of Gettysburg (now owned by the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana) and exhibited it throughout the country. Briscoe died in Philadelphia. Breezy is a very unusual example of Briscoe’s marine subjects because the composition emphasizes the windblown, sea-tossed figures on the deck of the ship at the right.


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