ALBION HARRIS BICKNELL(American, 1837-1915)
Painter, engraver and etcher Albion Harris Bicknell, best known for his portraits and historical subjects, also painted still lifes and landscapes. Bicknell was born in Turner, Maine in 1837. As a young boy Turner moved with his family to Boston and around 1855 studied at the Lowell Institute. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Thomas Couture from about 1860 to1862, and in 1860 exhibited for the first time at the Boston Athenaeum. In 1864 Bicknell established a studio in Boston and began exhibiting his work annually at the Boston Athenaeum. Bicknell was a member of the artistic fraternity of the Boston area that included William Morris Hunt, Elihu Vedder, Joseph Foxcroft Cole and John La Farge, all of whom were his close friends.
In the 1860s and early 1870s Bicknell painted some of the nation’s most distinguished citizens and was recognized throughout New England for his work as a portraitist.
About 1875, suffering from a serious illness, Bicknell moved to Malden, outside of Boston, and lived there as an invalid for nearly twelve years before he regained his health. He continued to paint, however, and was regularly visited by his Boston friends.
During the late 1880s and early 1890s he experimented with monotypes, and produced etchings and illustrations. His monotypes were shown at the J. Eastman Chase Gallery in Boston and the Union League Club in New York in 1881. In 1882 they were exhibited at the National Academy of Design. Also during this period Bicknell operated a summer sketching school between the towns of Stoneham and Woburn.
In 1895 Bicknell turned to watercolors and began to paint an increasing number of landscapes with cattle, which seem to have sold well at his exhibitions. After 1900 Bicknell’s production of paintings decreased, and he died in 1915.