florence griswold

The Front Parlor at the Florence Griswold House (c.1905-1910). William Chadwick (American, 1879-1962). Florence Griswold Museum.

This museum was originally a boarding house, known as the Lyme Art Colony,  owned by Florence Griswold, where American artists lived and painted. The original neoclassical mansion is charmingly preserved. Here is Miss Griswold reading in her parlor.

Lois au Jardin. Wilson Henry Irvine (American, 1869-1936). Oil on canvas.

It was not until he was 45 (in 1914) that Irvine packed up and moved his family to Old Lyme, Connecticut, becoming part of the famed Florence Griswold circle, now recognized as the “American Barbizon,” hub of American Impressionism. It is as an Old Lyme painter that Irvine is best remembered today.

Divided Light and Color: American Impressionist Landscapes

October 29, 2011 - January 29, 2012

Still among the best loved of all artistic movements, Impressionism records the world with a memorable alacrity, capturing scenes with a spontaneous shorthand of divided light and color. Impressionist landscapes were first codified outside Paris by Monet and Renoir in 1869, but soon spread abroad, where, by the late 1880s, they found an enthusiastic and highly individualized group of practitioners in America. Many of these early American Impressionists would make the pilgrimage to France, some working with Monet. One of the greatest strengths of the Bruce Museum’s permanent collection and local private collectors’ interests is American Impressionist landscape. The exhibition Divided Light and Color: American Impressionist Landscapes will bring together two dozen of the finest examples of this art in a show with imagery that continues to enchant and endure.

Summer at Hadlyme (1914). Willard Metcalf (American, 1858-1925). Oil on canvas. Florence Griswold Museum.

Impressionists created a roughened uneven texture that often mimics the texture of the subjects as well as captures and reflects light. Here Metcalf paints the interior employing a more traditional approach. Figures and objects are tightly rendered and the paint is smooth and flat. Through the open door, however, Metcalf employs a thicker handling of paint to convey the multitude of color, form, and wild textures found in the garden.