Ships amid Icebergs embodies the qualities that made Bradford’s work so appealing to collectors during his lifetime and which continues to draw admirers today. The sails and rigging of the ships and the faceted surface of the iceberg are rendered with careful draftsmanship, while the dark waters and brushier interpretation of the overcast sky amplify the sense of wonder that comes from experiencing one of Nature’s most extreme environments. Bradford’s clever fusion of crisp detail with the sublime aspects of the Arctic realm found ready collectors who could not make the journey themselves but were eager to view and acquire his transcendental imagery. The stretchers on Ships amid Icebergs bear an inscription of Baffin Bay, Greenland, however this location has not been confirmed; it is possible it was added by a later owner, or the stretchers may have been initially intended for another of Bradford’s canvases, as it is unknown if whaling fleets ventured as far north in their pursuit. The painting could likely depict the Labrador coast as the gathering of vessels resembles those seen in other Labrador subjects painted by Bradford that are now found in museums, including the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Huntington Museum of Art in San Marino, California.
More information about this painting...
Private collection, Groton, Massachusetts, who discovered and purchased it at a Groton yard sale around 2016
(top stretcher) Baffins Bay / Greenland
(top stretcher) Gramstorff Bros., Inc., Malden, Massachusetts (art framing and photography company)