Frederick Arthur Bridgman | The Fountain Room

American, 1847–1928

The Fountain Room

Signed and dated F.A. Bridgman/ 1900
Oil on canvas
25¾ x 37 inches (65.4 x 94 cm)
Framed: 36 x 47 inches (91.5 x 119.5 cm)

Bridgman exhibited his first two Algerian subjects at the Paris Salon in 1880 – a domestic scene of women weaving fabric, and a view of Biskra. “Scenes of Algerian life dominated his production from then on,” writes Gerald Ackerman. “A New York show of over three hundred works by Bridgman at the American Art Gallery in 1881 marked the peak of his popularity. The show included finished canvases – new ones for sale and older ones borrowed from collectors – but the major part of the exhibition consisted of sketches” (Gerald M. Ackerman, American Orientalists, Paris, 1994, p. 30). Bridgman was a frequent exhibitor at the National Academy and was elected an academician in 1881.  The present work, painted in 1900, is executed in a more richly colored and impressionistic style than Bridgman’s earlier North African subjects. 

Bridgman was particularly interested in painting the domestic life of the women of North Africa. During his trip to Algiers in the winter of 1885-86, Bridgman hired a guide who arranged for him to work in the house of Baïa, a young widow, and her young daughter. “His sympathy with Baïa,” writes Ackerman, “extended to the other women of Algiers. In his book [Winters in Algiers, published in 1888] he described their clothing as well as sketching it in his note books. He not only watched the family doing housework and celebrating religious feasts at home, but observed the women of the city, following them into the city, to the marketplace and to shrines and cemeteries.”

Mark Murray Fine Paintings, New York
Private Collection, California (acquired from the above, 1999 to the present)


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