Time and Tide


Alfred Thompson Bricher ( American, 1837 - 1908 )

c. 1873
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General Description

Alfred Thompson Bricher’s choice of subject deviated slightly from the Hudson River School’s early mission of capturing the grandeur of untouched American wilderness. Rather, Bricher’s work is characterized by exaggerated coastal seascapes and nautical scenes. He spent the majority of his fifty-year career as a landscape painter in Newburyport, Massachusetts--the source of many of his dramatic water scenes. In this painting, Bricher paints the waves as sleek shelves.In the distance, the peaks of sailboats dot the horizon, indicating human presence amidst the ocean waves. Favoring a horizontal composition, Bricher uses the monumentality of his landscapes to achieve an unrivaled luminosity, here seen in the clouds, whose reflection is mirrored on the seashore’s glossy sand surface. Drawing literary allusions in painting titles was quite common during this time. For his title, Bricher draws on a line from Sir Walter Scott’s The Antiquary of 1816: “Time and tide tarry for no man,” recast in 1843 by Charles Dickens in Martin Chuzzlewit to read, “Time and tide will wait for no man, saith the adage, but all men have to wait for time and tide.”