Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BRIDGMAN, Frederick Arthur, painter, born in Tuskogee, Alabama, 10 November, 1847. His parents were from Massachusetts. At the age of five years he declared he would be an artist, and at sixteen he removed to New York and became an apprentice in the engraving department of the American Bank-Note Company. He remained there two years, studying meanwhile at the Brooklyn art school and at the school of the national academy of design in New York. He went to Paris in 1866, and was one of the first American students to enter the studio of Gerome as a pupil. He studied at the ecole des beaux arts in Paris for five years, the interval of study being devoted to diligent outside work at Pont Aven and elsewhere in Brittany. He first sent a picture to the Paris salon in 1868; it was entitled "Jeu Breton," and, like its almost yearly successors in that exhibition, had the good fortune to be hung "on the line." During this period he contributed to the salon of 1869 "The Breton Children in Carnival Time," of which an engraving was published in the illustrated papers.
In 1870 he sent " The American Circus in Brittany." In 1871 there was no salon because of the Franco-Prussian war. His contribution in 1872 was "Apollo carrying away Cyrene." The winter of 1872-'3 he passed in Algiers, and returned to the Pyrenees in the summer of 1873 and painted "The Diligence." An excursion through the Pyrenees in 1872 furnished the suggestion of "Bringing in the Maize" (near Bayonne), which was exhibited that year, and is one of his most successful works. Later, in 1873, he went to Egypt, and, after working for a time at Cairo, went with friends as far up the Nile as the second cataract. His sketches taken at this time furnished the theme of his contributions to the salon on his return to France: "The Funeral of a Mummy" (1877); "Pastimes of an Assyrian King" (1878); and "Procession of the bull Apis" (1879). The last of these is now in the Corcoran art gallery, Washington. "The Funeral of a Mummy" was one of the successful pictures of the Paris international exhibition of 1878, where it was awarded a medal of the second class, and at the same time the artist was "decore" by the "legion of honor." Many oriental and archaeological pictures were produced during these years, several of which were engraved in "Harper's Monthly Magazine," October, 1881. In 1871 he began to exhibit pictures in the New York national academy, sending for that year's exhibition "Illusions in High Life." In 1874 he exhibited the salon picture of the preceding year, "Bringing in the Maize," and in 1875 three" "The American Circus in Paris," "Tete a Tete in Cairo," and "In the Pyrenees." The same year he was made an associate of the national academy. In 1876 he exhibited "A Moorish Interior" and "Chapel-Noon, Brittany," and sent to the centennial exhibition at Philadelphia "A Kybelian Woman," "Flower of the Harem," and "The Nubian Story-Teller." Many of his finest paintings are owned in this country. In 1880 Mr. Bridgman came to America and gave a collective exhibition of his works in New York. He was chosen a member of the National Academy of Design in 1881, and the same year returned to Paris, where he resides and has his studio. His latest paintings are "Caid's Escort at Rest"; "Family Bath at Cairo"; "My Last Price" (1884); and "Summer on the Bosphorus" (1885).
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