Art, History, and Landscape in One Remarkable Place.
Visitors to the museum are treated to a rare opportunity. Not only do they see where and how these early 20th century artists lived and worked, the museum's outstanding collection offers the chance to see their paintings in the context of the Connecticut landscape and village where many of the works were create.
The Florence Griswold House.
In 1899 Florence Griswold opened her timeworn family home to artists searching for a quiet country retreat where they could rejuvenate their spirits and find sources of inspiration. The group became known as the Lyme Art Colony and Miss Florence's boardinghouse became the center of Impressionism in America. The Florence Griswold House occupies a unique place in the history of American art. It brings alive the work of American Impressionist artists in the place where they lived and painted. This National Historic Landmark is as alive today as it was when the artists, with irreverent good humor, dubbed it the Holy House.
The artists left Miss Florence, and generations of art lovers, something very special. Many painted directly on the walls and doors of the house. The tradition was probably imported from hostelries in the French art colonies of Barbizon, Giverny, and Pont-Aven. Forty-one such panels appear throughout the downstairs rooms. The most breathtaking example is found in the dining room.
The second floor of the Griswold House is exhibition space. Paintings, sketches, and photographs detail the importance of the Colony in the history of American Art.
The Krieble Gallery.
Opened in 2002, the Robert and Nancy Krieble Gallery accommodates exhibition space, collection storage, visitor amenities and a museum shop. Overlooking the Lieutenant River, near where many of Miss Florence's boarders set up their easels and painted the marshy coastline, this modern facility draws upon the Museum's unique history and setting. Exhibitions range from the best of American Impressionism, French Impressionism, photography, 18th-century portraiture, sculpture, and contemporary art.
Visitors today understand immediately the site's appeal to the artists who stayed with Florence Griswold. Her house, gardens and river view were favored subjects of her boarders. Walking the grounds, one is delighted by the same trees and gentle bend in the river. Visitors stand at the site of Childe Hassam's favorite spot, stroll Miss Florence's lovingly restored old-fashioned garden, and rest where Chadwick posed his model for the now famous, On the Piazza. Today, just as over one hundred years ago, artist and visitor alike can discover the quality of light and the spirit of place found here.