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October Morning

ca. 1910 Frank A. Bicknell Born: Augusta, Maine 1866 Died: Essex, Connecticut 1943 oil on canvas 32 1/8 x 39 3/8 in. (81.5 x 99.9 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of William T. Evans 1910.9.15 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 13B

Luce Center Label

Frank Bicknell may have painted October Morning during one of his many stays at the artists' colony in Old Lyme, Connecticut. In a 1907 letter to Florence Griswold, who rented rooms to artists, he revealed his desire to come to the colony for both inspiration and camaraderie: "Will you stow me away somewhere in the big house about the last week in Septembre? Or the first week of Octobre at the latest? Please do not say no—Put me in the Barn if you will—but come to Lyme I must sometime this Autumn."

In this painting, Bicknell captured the moment the sun rises to reveal the country landscape. Soft colors and brushstrokes, combined with the cool morning light, give the painting an otherworldly quality. Lush trees climb a small hill on the right side of the canvas. The left side is open, revealing the mountains in the distance. This asymmetrical arrangement shows the influence of Japanese woodblock prints. American impressionist painters, including Bicknell, studied these prints, experimenting with Japanese perspective and space to create compositions in which the subject was not always at the center.


Landscape - season - autumn

Landscape - time - morning


paint - oil

fabric - canvas