Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Florence Griswold Museum

Over the Memorial Day weekend we visited the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. Miss Florence Griswold ran a boarding house in the early 1900's that became extremely popular with a group of well known artists (men & women) who painted almost exclusively in the new art form known as Impressionism. Her boarding house, which was really a beautiful mansion, eventually became "The Home of Ameican Impressionism" on this side of the Atlantic, and better known simply as the Lyme Art colony.

The original home has been preserved as a museum along with a few of the out buildings and beautiful gardens. In the main house the down stairs portion is a self guided tour, with one room set up as an artist's bed room. There is the main hallway with paintings from the many artists who stayed there over the years and the main parlor. The upstairs now houses paintings done in that time period by many of the famous artists, such as Childe Hassam and Henry Ward Ranger, along with many others. The last room in the house that you see is the famous Dining Room, which is lined with wall panels that were painted by resident artists. This was done by invitation only, and considered a great honor.

There is also The Kreble Art Gallery on the grounds that houses temporary exhibitions. Currently there is an exhibit of Impressionist paintings by artists from Giverny, France which became "The Home of French Impressionism" on the other side of the Atlantic. Many of the American artists at "Miss Florence's boarding house" spent much of their time, when away from Lyme, in Giverny France, and that famous art colony.

From the Kreble Art Gallery, the lawn slopes down to a salt marsh & the Lieutenant River, where we sat and watched a pair of Osprey feed their young. As the day wore on I noticed more people bringing their own chairs down to river's edge to just sit and relax, while some even sketched with their children.

It was a great day and worth a trip to check it out - but watch for ticks - as my husband brought one back with him.

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