Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Bricher grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts where he was influenced by the local scenes of artist's such as Fitz Hugh Lane and Martin Johnson Heade. By 1858, after art studies at the Lowell Institute, he was painting full time along the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts.
With his strong vision of natural beauty, Bricher caught with growing power the transcendence and luminosity of light in paintings that are filled with abiding calm and serenity. As one observer of a Bricher scene noted; "He makes water sparkle like diamonds in a silver setting". He was a close friend and associate of marine artist William Haseltine and stressed the firm horizontal format preferred by that artist.
By 1868 he had relocated his studio from Boston to New York where he continued to make pilgrimages to his favored shores of Massachusetts and Maine. At Grand Manan he painted in the footsteps of another American master, Frederic Church. He exhibited at the National Academy from 1868-1900 and was elected president of the Watercolor Society in 1873.