About This Artwork

William Bradford
American, 1823–1892

The Coast of Labrador, 1866

Oil on canvas
72 x 113.3 cm (28 3/8 x 44 5/8 in.)
Signed and dated lower right: "Wm Bradford/1866"

Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund, 1983.529

William Bradford devoted the bulk of his career to painting Arctic scenes like The Coast of Labrador. Rendered in minute detail and suffused with light, the artist’s Arctic compositions share stylistic motifs with John Frederick Kensett’s Luminist views of the Rhode Island coast. Bradford first traveled to Labrador between 1854 and 1857; it was not until 1861, however, that the region became his main source of inspiration. He returned to Labrador repeatedly over the next eight years. Signed and dated 1866, this painting probably derives from a number of sketches he accumulated during an 1865 journey, and it attests to Bradford’s interest in the diverse light effects and rocky landscape of the Arctic.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Publication History

A Record of Sharing (Art Institute of Chicago, 1984), p. 21 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report, 1983–1984 (Art Institute of Chicago, 1984), p. 37, fig. 30.

Master Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago (Little, Brown and Company, 1988), p. 86 (ill.).

Judith A. Barter et al., American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 202-04, no. 93.

Richard C. Kugler, William Bradford: Sailing Ships and Arctic Seas (University of Washington Press, 2003), pp. 14–15, fig. 11.

Ownership History

Henry H. Brooks, Boston, by 1981; Alfred J. Walker, Boston, 1981; Vose Galleries, Boston, 1981; Alfred T. Morris, Providence, Rhode Island, 1981; Adams Davidson Galleries, Washington D.C., 1983; Marshall Field, Chicago, 1983; The Art Institute of Chicago, 1983.

Interpretive Resources

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