Eustis Estate

Comparison to Bricher

Co-curators Nancy Carlisle and Peter Trippi discussing paintings in the Historic New England conservation lab.

Most of us first look at a painting and see the overall image. We imagine being in the place where the artist was. Has the artist captured the mood of a rainy day in the city? What was the person in this portrait like? But we can also learn something by looking more closely at what’s on the canvas. How has the way the artist applied the paint enhanced the image? How does the composition direct your eye around the scene? How do the choices this artist made relate to those made by another artist?

In the dining room on the ground floor of Eustis Estate hangs another harbor scene, Twilight Seascape, painted by Alfred Thompson Bricher, who was eighteen years older than George Harvey. Although both works date from the 1880s, the older man’s has a more traditional “Luminist” look featuring detailed brushwork and a hazy atmosphere. By contrast, Harvey’s painting features the brighter coloring and looser handling embraced by younger New England artists as Impressionism made its way from France across the Atlantic.

Left: George Wainwright Harvey (1855–1930), Sunny Morning, Gloucester Harbor, late 1880s, oil on canvas, 17 5/8 X 23 5/16 in., Gift of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation, 2006.44.670.
Right: Alfred Thompson Bricher, (1837–1908), Twilight Seascape, 1870-1900, oil on canvas, 27 3/4 x 41 ½ in., Museum Purchase, 2016.57.1.

Learn more about the Bricher painting in the section below.