William Partridge Burpee American, 1846-1940


The long and rich tradition of marine painting in the United States manifested itself especially in northern New England, along the coasts of Massachusetts and Maine.  William Partridge Burpee, a master of marine painting, held a long career which encompassed a stylistic and thematic development which first reflected the early Luminist traditions of Lane and the more heroic Naturalism of Winslow Homer’s Prout’s Neck paintings.  Far more than a follower of these celebrated artists, Burpee was a painter who went on to explore both Tonalism and Impressionism at the end of the 19th century, responding to the impact of the work of James McNeill Whistler and to the strong presence and interest of French and American Impressionist paintings in Boston. Burpee was a member of the Lynn Beach Painters, a group working en plein air along Boston’s North Shore from 1882-1890s. While depicting nearby scenes of beaches, marshes and fisherman, he became particularly successful and won widespread praise for capturing the moods of the sea in paintings and pastels.