Home of American Impressionism
Art Lover's Dream
It is in Old Lyme,
a serene inlet at the mouth of the Connecticut River,
where early 20th century Impressionist artists from New
York and Boston sought refuge from the trials of city
life. Much of the character that drew painters to the
area over a century ago remains today. The Congregational
Church, made famous by Childe Hassam's paintings, still
stands at the end of Lyme Street. Meandering roads and
wooded lanes open to picturesque vistas, any of which
could have been a painting spot immortalized on canvas
by Willard Metcalf or William Chadwick.
the town also offers an array of charming art galleries,
specialty stores, and antique shops. Delightful inns cater
to visitors' needs and restaurants tempt their palates.
At the heart of town's artistic legacy is the Florence
Griswold Museum, the "Home of American Impressionism."
Connecticut Lady and her Bohemian Boys
did a generation of American artists wind up in Old Lyme?
Besides the fact that there was an abundance of subject
matter to choose from, the artists found perfect accommodations
with the kindred bohemian spirit of Florence Griswold.
Left with little means to maintain her family home, "Miss
Florence" had opened her doors to boarders in 1899.
Artists began to appear and over the next decade turned
her stately 1817 house into the home of the Lyme Art Colony,
where noted names in American Impressionism created some
of their best works.
artists left Miss Florence, and generations of art lovers,
something very specialpaintings on the walls and
doors of the Griswold House. The tradition was imported
from hostelries in the French art colonies of Barbizon,
Giverny, and Pont-Aven. The most breathtaking example
is found in the dining room, with 40 paintings by over
30 artists, a complete chronicle of the art colony movement
Chadwick, On the Porch
New Center for American Art
Today, visitors not only enjoy touring the historic home
and Miss Florence's gardens; they spend their time viewing
paintings by America's premier artists in the Museum's
new riverfront gallery, with changing exhibitions that
invite return visits. The new Krieble Gallery has propelled
the Museum into a national destination. The recently opened
10,000 square foot gallery building by Centerbrook Architects
adds a twentieth century perspective with three skylit
galleries flanked by striking, curvilinear metal wings
overlooking Miss Florence's garden and the Lieutenant
Wescott Hale, Woman Resting
Museum has one of the foremost collections of Impressionism
in America, with major works by Childe Hassam and John
Henry Twachtman, and the largest collection of Willard
Metcalf paintings anywhere. Changing exhibitions offer
audiences the finest American art dating from the late
18th century to the firstname.lastname@example.org
more information, please go to www.flogris.org.
* Photos courtesy of Florence Griswold House.
(Updated: 07/01/08 HC)