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Charles Henry Gifford Oil Painting "New Bedford from Gifford's Wharf"

Item Details

Charles Henry Gifford (Massachusetts, 1839 – 1904)
New Bedford from Gifford’s Wharf circa 1888
Oil on canvas
Signed in the lower left

Am American Luminist: Charles Henry Gifford
New Bedford Whaling Museum, November 7, 1986-January 11, 1987

An oil painting on canvas by well-listed artist Charles Henry Gifford (Massachusetts, 1839 – 1904), titled New Bedford from Gifford’s Wharf. This stunning Luminist painting depicts two figures positioned on a simple dock on the Acushnet River. In the distance, New Bedford is seen from the vanish point of the artist’s home town of Fairhaven. The piece is signed to the lower left and presented in a gilt Barbizon style frame. An informational tag from the New Bedford Whaling Museum is attached to the verso. The painting is accompanied by two copies of New Bedford Whaling Museum exhibition catalogs.

Charles was born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts in 1839 where he first made his own paint brushes from hog bristles and hen feathers and was able to buy some dry paints with a few pennies given to him by his mother. Charles tried his hand at carpentry, however ended up apprenticing as a shoemaker until 1862 when he enlisted in the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He was discharged in 1863 and enlisted again in 1864 for the Massachusetts Infantry until he finally left in 1866 and began to pursue his career as an artist. Despite having never received any formal training as an artist, Charles popularity grew quickly. He became well known for his works in watercolor and oil paints on small canvases that captured the effects of light and realism.


- some scratches and wear tot he edges of the frame; cracking throughout the surface of the frame; bottom right of frame is splitting; to the verso, some wear and discoloration.


20.5" W x 13.0" H x 2.0" D

- measurements of frame; measurements of visible image 14.75" W x 7.25" H.

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