Alfred Thompson Bricher’s a Pensive Moment and Winslow Homer’s the New Novel
Daniel E. Sachs

In the 1870s, amidst a virtual explosion of socially relevant as well as nostalgic images attempting to aid in the recuperation of a nation having survived a long and violent Civil War, Winslow Homer and Alfred Thompson Bricher created and exhibited a pair of watercolor compositions that addressed the gender and sexual issues arising in the mid- to late Victorian era. These images may well have been inspired by the two artists’ personal experiences and also their positive attitudes towards women, but also likely encouraged by an ever increasing Women’s Rights movement led by women such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others as early as the 1840s. The movement gained tremendous momentum in the post-Civil War period. Tradition- challenging Homer and sometimes provocative Bricher painted two paintings that prove to be well worth exploring because of their clearly different though equally compelling images of young Victorian women reading. Reading was very much the domain of men in this period, so when novels started becoming a commonplace, inexpensive item to which young women gravitated, many men of high stature saw it as detrimental and worthy of their criticism.

Full Text: PDF       DOI: 10.15640/ijaah.v4n2a1