Friday, February 20, 2009

Frost & Nason: A Gallery Talk

Join us this Sunday, February 22 at 2:00, for a closer look at the illustrations Thomas Nason made for Robert Frost. We'll talk more about the similarities between these two hearty New Englanders and how they relate their thoughts about the region in pictures and poetry.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Website as Research Tool

Read what writer and blogger Meg Nola has to say about paintings of the season by French and American Impressionists in her article "Artistic Views of Spring" for She uses our very own Willard Metcalf's May Night as an example. This is a great example of how writers use our website to research articles, not just about us, but art history in general. Meg reference's and link's to our website from her article. Thanks Meg!

Read Meg's article...Read Meg's blog...

This caricature of Willard Metcalf by Henry Rankin Poore is part of the famous Fox Chase painting found in the Florence Griswold House.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Well Constructed

Last month Facilities Manager Ted Gaffney and I (and our accommodating spouses Dylan and Maureen) went to a dinner and ceremony to receive an Excellence in Construction Award for the Florence Griswold House restoration from the Associated Builders & Contractors of Connecticut, Inc.

Actually, the award was given jointly to the Museum and to Kronenberger & Sons Restoration, Inc. in Middletown. Kronenberger served as the construction manager for this preservation project, the most extensive in the nearly 200-year history of this landmark building. Completed in 2006, the restoration of the Griswold House has been cited as an example of “best practices” among historic houses for its effective use of “green” geothermal technology to maintain the interior environment and for the years of careful research that led to its interpretation as a boarding house for artists when it was a center of Impressionism in America. If you haven’t had a chance to see the Griswold House I hope you will do so soon.

We are starting a new project with Kronenberger. Beginning later this month, they will be undertaking the restoration of a historic barn on the Museum’s property. This mid-19th century barn will be transformed into the John and Dyanne Rafal Landscape Center where visitors will learn about the landscape traditions of the Lyme region. Scheduled to open this summer, you can follow the progress right here on this blog!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Love Letter to Lyme

Taking a walk through our galleries it dawns on me that Thomas Nason was deeply enamored not just of New England but of Lyme in particular. From his grand view of the Lieutenant River to The Grey Barn and A New England Scene, our current exhibition is filled with lovingly rendered views of Lyme and the surrounding countryside. Nason recalled his first drive up Joshuatown Road in 1931: "The road was unpaved, rough, winding and hilly... It was indeed back country... This was the beginning of the end of the truly primitive condition in this region. We were among the early invaders from the city."

Perhaps none of his works is more of a labor of love than Summer Storm, which Nason himself described as one of the most difficult prints he'd ever attempted. "I printed a hundred of this but upon going over them I found so many defective proofs that I destroyed the whole run and started afresh, with far better results." The finished work is his masterpiece of chiaroscuro printmaking that turns rural Lyme into a sublime and Romantic landscape.  Thomas Nason's love letter to Lyme is waiting to be discovered at the Florence Griswold Museum.  Visit The Road Less Traveled: Thomas Nason's Rural New England this Valentine's Day and see anew the land that inspired this "pastoral poet on wood."

Monday, February 02, 2009

Going . . .

WINTER IS TAKING ITS TOLL! Cabin fever is setting in! Time to go mad, or at least go to MAD, the new Museum of Art and Design to see the installation of their permanent collection and a show titled Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary, that includes the most interesting contemporary creations. I saw the show back in October and, luckily, it’s been extended. Imagine a huge portrait of the Mona Lisa made out of hundreds of spools of colorful thread that is only visible when viewed through a crystal sphere or a large quilted portrait of a sweatshop worker all created out of tags from designer fashion—outstanding. They also have a great Dale Chihuly! This museum is state of the art. You can watch their artisans-in-residence working in the studio space or look up objects not on view with big computer screens. After we find lunch around Columbus Circle, we will head up town to the Bard Graduate Center’s for a guided tour of an exhibition of early examples of English embroidery from the Metropolitan’s collection with a great title, ’Twixt Art and Nature. Should be the perfect remedy for all the winter blahs! That trip is booked for Wednesday, March 11th. Click HERE to learn more and sign up online.