Franklin Dullin Briscoe (1844 - 1903)
The Cat Boat, n.d.
Oil on board mounted on mahogany panel
7 x 10 1/8 inches
Signed at lower right: F.D. Briscoe
Private collection, Massachusetts until present
Noted marine painter Franklin D. Briscoe was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1844. Briscoe studied painting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Edward Moran, and eventually established his studio there. He furthered his studies in Europe, though he did not enter the academies across the ocean. While Briscoe is best known for his compelling marine scenes, he was also a history and portrait painter. In 1885 he painted a significant large-scale historical mural, The Battle of Gettysburg.
Briscoe exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Brooklyn Art Association, as well as at the Philadelphia Centennial.
The ocean apparently had a tremendous draw on Briscoe, as he made extended sea voyages, giving him ample opportunities to gain first hand understanding of ships and the sea in all her moods. The Cat Boat is a small scale work with a visual power lent by the abstract shapes of the single sailboat with a geometric sail and two shadowed figures. The sea is dark, the sky clouded, and a sense of solidity and timelessness is given to the scene.