Something of a mystery piece that has resided for some time in my inventory, a pastel on paper, 7 1/4" by 18 1/2" (13" by 22" in a simple protective frame), with old penciled title on reverse of thin card "Monomy Beach", and with modern inscription in red ballpoint: "I OWNED THIS WATERCOLOR BEFORE DAMAGED - IT WAS SIGNED LOWER RT. A. T. BRICHER (signed) Bob Venger 28 Feb '82". Nearby, written in blue ballpoint, is "BRICHER". The work, by repute, came from the estate of framed American actress Jeanne Crain (1925-2003). It was obtained along with another damaged drawing evidently by Alaskan artist Theodore Richardson (see, in my shop). Internet research of "Bob Venger" shows a Los Angeles art dealer with a storied past of passing along fake Renoir paintings and other dubious dealings. So, this one will have to speak for itself. It is nicely executed, but the condition is abominable. Paper is missing along bottom and at right and in sky, as shown, from old water damage most likely. The portion of the drawing with the horizon, wreck, and water, is the best preserved part. Most likely, this WAS drawn by the important American artist ALFRED THOMPSON BRICHER (1837-1908), but proving that would be nigh impossible at this point. Bricher's best oil paintings exceed $200,000 at auction. Sometimes considered part of the Hudson River School, he painted the northeast coast with an expertise rarely matched since. Monomoy Island (as it is properly spelled) is an 8 mile long sandy appendage south of Chatham, Massachusetts (at the "elbow" of the Cape). It is uninhabited and boasts wildlife sanctuaries and navigation light facilities.
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