During a fifty-year career, Bricher made a comfortable living from his work but was rarely praised by critics. Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and by 1851 was working in Boston. He became a professional painter in 1858, after meeting Charles Temple Dix and William Stanley Haseltine while sketching at Mount Desert, Maine. The following year he had his own studio in Newburyport. During the 1860s, Bricher made pictures for L. Prang and Company's print catalogue; like many New England artists of this period, he sought to bring his work before a wider public. In 1868 he married and moved his studio to New York, but over the next decades spent a great deal of time traveling, primarily sketching seascapes up and down the Atlantic coast. Most of his summer trips were to the New England states. On these trips he made landscape studies that were later transformed into oils and luminous watercolors. He was particularly impressed with Grand Manan Island off the Maine coast in the Bay of Fundy, whose rugged cliffs and surrounding sea he drew and painted for seventeen years.
William H. Truettner and Roger B. Stein, editors, with contributions by Dona Brown, Thomas Andrew Denenberg, Judith K. Maxwell, Stephen Nissenbaum, Bruce Robertson, Roger B. Stein, and William H. Truettner Picturing Old New England: Image and Memory (Washington, D.C.; New Haven, Conn; and London: National Museum of American Art with Yale University Press, 1999)