Lyme in New London County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
Impressionism in Connecticut
This Viewpoint extends the museum sites of the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail – Connecticut’s Millennium Legacy Trail – to the outdoor settings that artists portrayed at the turn of the 20th century in a manner that came to be called American Impressionism. Visit the website for the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail to learn more about the Trail, the other Viewpoints, and the leading role that Connecticut played in the development of American Impressionism.
William Chadwick (1879-1962) was little more than a boy when he saw the vivid Impressionist landscapes that older American artists, notably Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, and Walter Griffin, were painting outdoors in places like Old Lyme, Connecticut. Inspired, he began adapting their bright colors and brushwork to the figures and interiors he had been doing. By the time he moved to Lyme year-round in 1915, after summering there from 1902, he was also painting the landscape, impressing fellow artists with his ability to capture its variety and spirit. Chadwick came so late to the Impressionist scene that widespread fame long eluded him. His sunny images and fine skills were not given their due until American Impressionism itself was rediscovered in the 1980s. His Lyme studio, filled with the things he used in his long career, can
Rather than celebrate the majesty of the Connecticut River, as earlier artists had, American Impressionists tended to highlight the shoreline and did so in unconventional ways. Chadwick, who probably painted this scene a bit farther down river, created an intimate space that downplays breadth and depth. Foreground, rather than the traditional middle, is key here, and intimations of movement and life more important than an illusion of reality. American Impressionist art was optimistic, offering hope and emotional respite from societal changes as America moved into the 20th century. In Chadwick’s painting, bright sunlight casts no shadow. The off-center focus and stippled brushwork focus the eye on the picture’s surface, as do color patches that resonate with one another and with the animated lines of the trees. The blue river, filtered as through a screen, looks more flat than broad as it surrounds the golden tree, which insistently draws the eye upward, not into the distance. Nonetheless, the artist has designed the scene to look disarmingly natural. Nature here is not meant to awe but to please and to comfort.
William Chadwick and other painters who developed American Impressionism in Connecticut probably knew this place. The Chester-Hadlyme ferry has
The Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail Viewpoints have been made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Connecticut Department of Environmental
Location. 41° 25.25′ N, 72° 25.719′ W. Marker is in Lyme, Connecticut, in New London County. Marker is on River Road (Connecticut Route 431) 0.1 miles west of Ferry Road (Connecticut Route 148), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in the park next to the ferry landing. Marker is in this post office area: Old Lyme CT 06371, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Chester-Hadlyme Ferry (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Chester-Hadlyme Ferry (approx. 0.3 miles away); Chester Veterans Monument (approx. 1˝ miles away); Chester World War II – Korea Memorial (approx. 1˝ miles away); Chester World War I Monument (approx. 1˝ miles away); Chester (approx. 1.7 miles away); The Underground Railroad (approx. 1.9 miles away); Piano Works (approx. 2.2 miles away).
Also see . . . Connecticut Art Trail. (Submitted on June 2, 2015, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 2, 2015, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 190 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 2, 2015, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.