Frank Alfred Bicknell painting

by Dr. Lori Verderame

Born in Augusta, Maine, American Impressionist Frank Alfred Bicknell moved to Massachusetts where he studied art with Albion H. Bicknell, a relative. Frank Bicknell went on to teach at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, PA and he exhibited his work widely.

Training and Travels

Bicknell exhibited his work at the National Academy of Design in the late 1880s and about this time, in 1888, the artist moved to New York City where he resided on West 57th Street. A few years later, Bicknell traveled to Paris to study at the Academie Julian under the direction of Robert Fleury and the famed classical realist painter, Bougeureau.

Returning to New York City by 1894, Bicknell resided at the famous Salmagundi Club. Bicknell was a member of the following organizations: Lotos Club, Salmagundi Club, MacDowell Club, National Arts Club, American Art Association of Paris and the National Academy of Design.He lived at the prestigious Towers at Madison Square Garden designed by Stanford White. As a landscape painter, Frank Bicknell traveled extensively making summer painting trips to Annisquam, Cape Ann. Each spring, Bicknell returned to Paris and the French countryside to find subjects for his paintings.

Artist Colony of Old Lyme

Frank Bicknell painting

After many years in New York City, Bicknell was invited to Old Lyme, CT around 1902. Soon thereafter, Bicknell became a prominent member of the Old Lyme group of American Impressionists. Staying at the well known artist enclave, the Florence Griswold House, Bicknell painted images of the environs of Old Lyme. He referred to Miss Florence Griswold and the other artists in the famed art colony including Hassam, Metcalf, and DuMond as “the family.” Other members of Bicknell’s “family” were President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson who would visit Old Lyme often. Mrs. Woodrow Wilson often played bridge with Bicknell and acquired many of Bicknell’s paintings for her own collection.

Today, Frank Bicknell’s art like that of all of the American Impressionists is sought after on the market. Values for easel sized paintings of the landscapes surrounding Old Lyme command several tens of thousands of dollars at auction.

Request an online appraisal of your Frank Alfred Bicknell piece from Dr. Lori.