Florence Griswold Museum

Old Lyme, Connecticut

(860) 434-5542


The Lure of Lyme: Celebrating 100 Years of the Lyme Art Colony


The Centennial Celebration


Charles Ebert, Monhegan Headlands, 1909

1999 is the Centennial Celebration year of the founding of the Lyme Art Colony. It was in 1899 that the noted landscape painter Henry Ward Ranger discovered Old Lyme and took a room in the home of Miss Florence Griswold. Soon he was joined by other artists including the esteemed Childe Hassam. Drawn to this historic shore town by the special light and by the camaraderie with other artists, these "plein air" painters produced works of exceptional beauty. The Centennial coincides with a time of great expansion and change at the Museum and will celebrate the spirit and achievement of the Lyme Art Colony with special exhibitions and events.

William Chadwick, Irises

Highlights of the Centennial Exhibition Schedule include, The Lure of Lyme: Celebrating 100 Years of the Lyme Art Colony, will mark the founding of the artists' colony; A retrospective of the work of Henry Ward Ranger who during his lifetime was known as one of America's greatest landscape painters. And, the exhibition, Gifts in Honor of the Centennial, will recognize the spirit of giving that has characterized the Museum since its beginning and will display the wealth and variety of artistic achievement of the Lyme Art colony.


A Community or Artists

Childe Hassam, Late Afternoon Sunset, 1903

Artists began to gather in Old Lyme, Connecticut as early as 1899. The home of Miss Florence Griswold was at the heart a community of artists related through friendships that extended beyond the summer to their winter lives in New York City, by shared experiences in Europe at the Academie Julian in Paris, and by their travels abroad, and they gathered in Old Lyme to paint the light and land and to experiment artistically.

Everett Warner, Snow Covered Hills, oil on canvas, 26 x32 inches

In the Museum's upstairs galleries, The Lure of Lyme will examine a variety of artistic approaches. European study was of great importance to American artists and collectors of the late 19th century, and one gallery will display works from Europe. Dutch Harbor by Henry Ward Ranger, Seine River Scene by Edmund Greacen and Ponte Castel Vecchio, Venice by Lewis Cohen show the extent of these artists' travels as well as the diversity of styles used to represent foreign lands.


The Figurative Tradition

Willard Metcalf, Summer at Hadlyme

A second gallery will feature figurative work. The Lyme Art Colony artists were noted for their intimate, pastoral landscapes, but there was also a strong tradition of painting the human body. An important part of the training of artists of this era was to master the art elf figure painting, and many had successful careers as portrait painters. Both portraits of specific sitters like Maynard's female figure in a kimono and more generalized figures such as Frank Vincent Dumond's Figures in Landscape will be included in the exhibition.

Will House Foote, Summer, c. 1923

A recently restored painting by Oscar Fehrer shows a young, well-dressed woman daydreaming in a comfortable interior. An excluisite bronze by the noted sculptor Bessie Potter Vonnoh of Woodrow Wilson's daughter portrays a member of the "first family" of boarders at the Florence Griswold House. A small gallery of self portraits provides further insight into the nature of the Lyme Art Colony artists.


Tonalism and Impressionism

Henry Ward Ranger, Autumn Woodlands, oil on canvas, 28 x 36 inches

The two remaining galleries in The Lure of Lyme will compare and contrast Tonalism and Impressionism, two very different approaches to painting light. Tonalists with their subtle and restrained palette are represented in Henry C. White's Moonrise, Autumn, Henry Ward Ranger's Autumn Woodlands, and Louis Paul Dessar's The Toilers. Each of these works shows the Tonalists' love of ambient indirect light and muted colors creating subtle, poetic landscapes. By contrast, Impressionist pieces such as Childe Hassam's Late Afternoon, Sunset and William Robinson's Laurel depict shimmering, direct sunlight.


The Lure of Lyme will he on view at the Florence Griswold Museum through May 30, 1999.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 9/20/10

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