New Britain Museum of American Art

New Britain, CT



Connecticut Impressionists

June 2 - August 27, 2000


Douglas Hyland, Director of the New Britain Museum of American Art, introduces the history of the exhibition's art with these words: "Considered very radical in the 1870s, 80s and beyond, Impressionism appealed to American artists immediately. They were predisposed to appreciate the untouched landscape and conditioned to accept the new concepts. Studying works by Degas, Monet, and Renoir both in France and in this country after 1883, American artists soon embraced Impressionism with enthusiasm. Of the major artists who came to epitomize the movement, almost all either resided in or visited Connecticut regularly." (left: Childe Hassam, The Mill Pond, Cos Cob, CT, 1902, oil on canvas, 26 1/4 x 18 1/4 inches, Bruce Museum of Art and Science, Anaonymous gift)

Hyland continues: "Julian Alden Weir, John Twachtman, Theodore Robinson and dozens of other luminaries settled along the Connecticut shore. The seacoast was incredibly beautiful as was the countryside. The rail service supplied easy access to their dealers in New York. As time passes these pioneers attracted a cadre of devoted followers and then sprung up art colonies from Cos Cob to Lyme and on to Mystic. In each community the Impressionists painted, taught their disciples, and generally enjoyed themselves. The body of work produced by these men and women is now legendary and graces both the walls of countless museums, libraries, and private collections. It has been argued that theirs was a golden period in which creativity was able to thrive as never before in our history. (left: Louis Paul Dessar, A Moment's Rest, n.d., oil on canvas, 38.5 x 29 inches, Collection of Jeffrey W. Cooley)

"Connecticut Impressionists" highlights, according the Hyland, "the amazing oil paintings not only of Weir, Twachtman and Robinson, but also Edward Rook, Charles Davis, Henry Ward Ranger, Walter Griffin, Chauncey Ryder, and Wilson Irvine, but also many very talented but lesser known figures such as Josephine Lewis, Lawrence Mazzanovich, William Chadwick, and Charles Ethan Porter and others. Their paintings are very colorful and capture the fleeting moment. While most of the subjects relate to Connecticut, some were painted in France and others, notably those by Childe Hassam, who spent many months in Connecticut, were painted throughout New England and New York." (left: J. Alden Weir, Windham from Mullins Hill, c. 1895, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches, The Fine Arts Collection of the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company)

The exhibition, with even halves drawn from the museum's own collection and outside private or museum collections, includes over seventy examples of Connecticut Impressionist art. It is the first major survey of the subject at the New Britain Museum of American Art. The museum also believes "Connecticut Impressionists" to be "the first major treatment of the subject in several decades."

Sponsors for the exhibition include Conry Financial Services; Czepiga Law Group; Camp, Dresser and McKee, Inc; Chase Global; and Oppenheimer Inc. (left: Walter Griffin, Noank, Conn., 1905, oil on panel, 11 3/4 x 16 inches, Mr. and Mrs. Abbot W. Vose, Vose Galleries of Boston, Inc.)


Editor's note:

Also see our subject index on 19th - 20th Century American landscape paintings

Read more about the New Britian Museum of American Art in Resource Library.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

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

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/28/11

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