Expanding Horizons commemorates the 20th anniversary of the transformative gift of the entire 190-piece fine art collection of the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company to the Museum in 2001. More than simply a retrospective of this beautiful and important collection, Expanding Horizons represents a thorough reevaluation of this core collection of 18th-early 20th century works by Connecticut artists.
Prior to the gift of the Hartford Steam Boiler Fine Arts Collection in 2001, the museum’s mission was singularly focused on interpreting the Lyme Art Colony story centered at Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse in the early 1900s and presenting examples of American Tonalist and Impressionist artists who had painted here.
With Hartford Steam Boiler’s monumental corporate gift, the scope of the museum’s collection instantly broadened to include artists working in every corner of Connecticut from the 18th century to the mid-20th century. While landscape was the preferred subject of most artists visiting Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse, the Hartford Steam Boiler Collection brought to the museum canonical examples of 18th century American portraiture, 19th century American landscape (including Hudson River School artists), narrative genre scenes, still lifes, figurative compositions, Impressionist works, and even modernism. The HSB Collection truly opened up a whole new world of possibilities for this institution.
Image: Childe Hassam, The Dry Northeaster, Isles of Shoals (detail), 1906. Oil on canvas, Florence Griswold Museum, Gift of The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company.