Smith College Museum of Art

Northampton, MA



Dwight William Tryon, 1849-1925

(exhibition held in 1999)


Smith College Museum of Art is pleased to announce the opening of a new special exhibition, Dwight William Tryon, 1849-1925. The exhibition celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of this landscape painter with a display of twenty-three paintings and drawings, primarily gathered from the museum's permanent collection, with loans from Northampton's Forbes Library and one loan from a private collector. Born in Hartford in 1849, Tryon studied under Jacquesson de la Chevreuse in Paris from 1876 to 1881. He divided his time by season between New York City and South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. He taught painting and drawing for almost forty years at Smith College, and assisted in the building of the college's collection, forming the basis for what would later become the Smith College Museum of Art.

Tryon painted serene landscapes and seascapes, usually in soft, harmonious colors with well-ordered and balanced compositions, and is known as a tonalist painter. From the Society of American Artists, Tryon received the prestigious Webb Prize in 1889 for The First Leaves. Also in that year,Tryon met the industrialist and art connoisseur Charles Lang Freer of Detroit who became the painter's primary patron throughout his career. Freer donated his collection of Asian and American art to the Smithsonian Institution. Today the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (part of the Smithsonian) and Smith College Museum of Art remain the chief repositories of Tryon's work. Near the end of his life, Tryon and his wife, Alice Belden Tryon donated funds for the construction of a gallery to house the growing art collection of the college. The Tryon Art Gallery opened in 1926 and served the college until 1970, when it was razed to make way for the fine arts complex.

Many of the paintings in the exhibition were recently cleaned and restored by conservator Lenora M. Paglia with funds raised through the 1997 Spring Appeal to the Friends of the Smith College Museum of Art. It is a fortuitous coincidence that Dwight W. Tryon, one of the last exhibitions presented at the museum before it closes for renovation, honors this painter of intimate, meditative scenes who did so much to shape the future of the arts at Smith College.

Images from top to bottom: Venice, 1879, oil on linen mounted on panel, 17 1/8 x 28 inches, bequest of Dwight William Tryon, 1930:3-121, photo: Stephen Petegorsky; Fishing, c. 1880, (verso of Self Portrait, 1891), oil on canvas, 22 x 17 1/4 inches, 1891:3-1, photo: David Stansbury; Springtime, 1895, oil on panel, 16 x 24 1/8 inches, bequest of Dwight William Tryon, 1930:1-104, photo: Stephen Petegorsky; November Evening, 1924, oil on panel, 20 x 30 inches, bequest of Dwight William Tryon, 1926:12-1photo: David Stansbury

Smith College Museum of Art is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., and Sunday, noon - 4 p.m., and Thursday, noon - 8 p.m. The Print Room is open Tuesday - Friday, I - 4 p.m. and Saturday, 1 - 4 p.m. through May. During the summer the Print Room is open by appointment. The museum is located on Elm Street (Route 9), at Bedford Terrace, in Northampton, MA. Street parking is available nearby. Parking is available in any campus lot evenings and weekends. All museum exhibitions are free and open to the public. The museum is closed Mondays, July 4, and Thanksgiving Day. The Museum will close for renovations beginning December 23, 1999.


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

rev. 10/18/10

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