Chickadee and Thistle

Fidelia Bridges American

Not on view

Bridges is celebrated for her meticulously detailed watercolors of flora and fauna in close-up outdoor settings. A student of William Trost Richards at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, she embraced his Ruskinian ‘truth to nature’ approach to great effect. Over a successful fifty year career, the prolific Bridges established her reputation as a trendsetter: as one of only two women to be elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1873, and, one year later, the fifth woman to be invited to join the American Watercolor Society, an artist’s organization founded in 1866 to promote watercolor painting, then considered a highly progressive medium. From 1876 to 1889, her images were reproduced and marketed by the popular lithographer Louis Prang; she also was known for her calendar and greeting card designs as well as magazine and book illustrations. Chickadee and Thistle was painted one year after Bridges was inducted into the American Watercolor Society, when her "little lyric poems" were receiving considerable critical and popular acclaim. By 1879, she had become a "household word in every home of taste and ornament." This watercolor exemplifies Bridges’ impressive facility with the medium and exquisite sensitivity to its distinctive qualities of color and touch.

Chickadee and Thistle, Fidelia Bridges (American, Salem, Massachusetts 1834-1923 Canaan, Connecticut), Watercolor and gouache on paper, American

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