William Bradford paintings | Minnesota Marine Art Museum | arctic seascapes

“William Bradford and the Arctic” at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum

Chelsea DeLay | March 26th, 2014 | Posted in Events and Exhibitions

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum is currently hosting an exhibition that allows you to experience the chillingly beautiful views of the Arctic without exposing yourself to the elements! William Bradford and the Arctic, on view through October 24, 2014, focuses on the Hudson River School painter’s 1869 voyage to Greenland, one of seven Arctic excursions, Bradford, along with photographers John Dunmore and George Critcherson, boarded the steam-powered vessel named The Panther and sailed up the western coast, making frequent stops to document scenes of the icy terrain. The journey was a long one—The Panther covered over five thousand miles in three months, which Bradford described as “much further than anyone had ever ventured for the purposes of art.”

At the end of the trip, Bradford returned to his New York studio with a plethora of research material for painting various scenes of the Arctic: he had produced hundreds of drawings and oil sketches while aboard The Panther, and Dunmore and Critcherson also provided him with more than four hundred photographs which they had snapped during the course of their Greenland excursion. William Bradford and the Arctic features five of Bradford’s Arctic scenes, as well as six pages of his 1873 publication, The Arctic Regions: Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Expedition to Greenland—Bradford created the book’s illustrations, which he based on the gripping images taken by Dunmore and Critcherson. Visitors will be able to see how Bradford’s pioneering spirit influenced other marine painters to take the icy plunge and travel to the Arctic region, seen in additional works on view by John Stobart, Gordon Grant, Louis Dodd, and Martin Ottinger. William Bradford and the Arctic highlights Bradford’s fascination with glaciers, icebergs, and the movement of ice—a curiosity that resulted in the sublime arctic seascapes for which he is best known.

William Bradford, Morning on the Arctic Ice Fields, ca.1880. Oil on canvas. Minnesota Marine Art Museum Collection.

William Bradford, Morning on the Arctic Ice Fields, ca.1880. Oil on canvas. Minnesota Marine Art Museum Collection.



Chelsea DeLay is a Researcher at Questroyal Fine Art. Chelsea earned her MA in art business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York, and her BA in art history and classical studies. Her interest in American paintings first began while working at an auction house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and has multiplied exponentially since joining the Questroyal team.