Signed and inscribed “Beaulieu,” l.r.
Oil on canvas
19¾ x 28¾ inches
Private collection, France
A label affixed to the painting’s reverse reads as follows:
Envoi a la societe des beaux arts de Nice [From the Societe des Beaux Arts, Nice]
Nom: F. A. Bridgman
Section: Peinture [painting]
Sujet: Les rochers de Beaulieu [the rocks of Beaulieu]
A pioneer of the Orientalist genre, Frederick Arthur Bridgman’s artistic aptitude became apparent at a young age. At sixteen, in 1863 he moved from Boston to New York City and enrolled at the National Academy of Design while working as an engraver’s apprentice. Three years later, Bridgman moved to Paris and at nineteen became one of Brittany’s first founding members of the Pont-Aven artist colony. While in Paris, he studied under Jean Leon Gerome, who urged his students to paint foreign locations of historical significance. Thus, Bridgman’s desire to travel afar was inspired and in 1872 he embarked upon the first of many trips to Spain and North Africa, including Morocco, Algeria and Egypt.
Bridgman’s brilliantly colored, exotic views from countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea led to his tremendous success in the 1870s and 1880s and his paintings were in great demand. With his clients’ patronage he was able to travel for over three months along the Nile, and expanded and decorated his home in Paris with such extravagance that painter John Singer Sargent claimed it was one of the two sights in France worth seeing – the other being the Eiffel Tower!
While many of Bridgman’s artworks featured the people he met during his travels engaged in their daily rituals, he was very prolific while traveling and also completed a great number of seascapes and landscapes. Edge of Sea at Beaulieu shows the small harbor town (whose name means “beautiful place on the sea”) located along the French Riviera between Nice and Monaco. Beaulieu is surrounded by steep rocky mountainsides and covered in lush terrain, which Bridgman captured in stunning vibrancy in Edge of Sea. Showing the French hillside covered in blooms while the glowing sun sets over the green and blue bay, Bridgman’s talent for capturing breathtaking sights the world over is wonderfully evident.