Frederick Bridgman started out in 1863 as an engraver for the American Banknote Company and went on to produce steel engravings. He went to Paris in 1866 and worked in Gérome's studio at the École des Beaux-Arts. He spent time in Brittany at Pont-Aven until 1871, before going to North Africa and Egypt in 1872 and remaining there for five years. He took part regularly in the Paris Salons, notably the Salon des Artistes Français and the Salon of the Société Coloniale des Artistes Français. He also exhibited in London at the Royal Academy and the Suffolk Street Gallery. Bridgman exhibited at the Exposition Universelle of 1878, 1889 and 1900, receiving a silver medal at each of the exhibitions. He was decorated with the Légion d'Honneur in 1878 and was made Officier in 1907. He became a member of the National Academy, New York, in 1881, and of the Société des Artistes Peintres, Paris.
Bridgman's travels in North Africa and Egypt brought about a radical change in his palette, which became much paler. He was also a photographer and often worked from his photographs when painting, depicting a world of richly adorned women in veils and using transparent effects and white on white. As well as his scenes of everyday life, Bridgman also painted historical subjects from Ancient Egypt and Assyria, such as Pharaoh Crossing the Red Sea and Royal Entertainment at Nineveh. A cultivated man, Bridgman studied musical composition with Charles-Marie Widor and wrote several books on art. In New York in 1890, he published Winters in Algiers, which he illustrated with his paintings.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Boston (MFA): Armenian Woman (1882, oil on canvas)
Detroit (IA): Moorish Interior (c. 1875-1879, oil on canvas)
Liverpool (Walker AG): The Diligence
New York (Brooklyn Mus.): An Interesting Game (1881, oil on canvas)
New York (National Academy of Design Mus.): Oriental Interior (1882, oil on canvas)
St Petersburg (Gosudarstvennyj Russkij Muz.): Pharaoh Engulfed by the Red Sea; Calm, Coast of Algeria; Bacchantes