Connecticut museums collaborate to put 400 landscape paintings online

October 30, 2014 · Press Releases

Four hundred landscape works now digitally available

Hartford, CT (October 2014) – Approximately four hundred oil paintings and watercolors of the Connecticut landscape have been added to Connecticut History Online (CTHistoryOnline.org), a collaborative digital library of over 15,000 drawings, prints, and photographs depicting historic images of Connecticut. The paintings added to the online collection are from the collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, the Connecticut State Library, the Florence Griswold Museum, the Lyman Allyn Museum, the Mattatuck Museum, the Mystic Arts Center, Mystic Seaport, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Slater Memorial Museum, and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Laurilla Smith, The Smith Sisters’ Homestead (Glastonbury). Before 1857. The Connecticut Historical Society, Bequest of Martha R. Lambert, 1979.68.263

Laurilla Smith, The Smith Sisters’ Homestead (Glastonbury). Before 1857. The Connecticut Historical Society, Bequest of Martha R. Lambert, 1979.68.263

Connecticut played an important role in the development of American landscape painting. Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Frederick Edwin Church both produced important early work in Connecticut under the patronage of Hartford philanthropist and art collector Daniel Wadsworth. American Impressionist art colonies were located on the Connecticut shore in Cos Cob, Mystic, Old Lyme, and Silvermine (Norwalk) and were frequented by famous artists such as Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, and J. Alden Weir. Local Connecticut landscape painters such as John Denison Crocker and Nelson Augustus Moore depicted other parts of the state, often in remarkable detail. Works by amateur artists, such as Laurilla Smith‘s haunting watercolors of Glastonbury, provide another way of looking at the landscape, at once more naïve and more personal.

These paintings join over 15,000 drawings, prints, and photographs already in CHO, making it possible to compare works in different media dating from the mid-18th century through the late 20th century. CHO brings together paintings by an artist across three different museum collections, as well as photographs of the artist and by the artist. A zoom and pan feature makes it possible to focus on details such as distant buildings, even on the artist’s brushstrokes. While the remarkable quality of the digital images should delight all lovers of the fine arts, in this new context, these works will also provide primary source material for students of industrial and agricultural history, social history, ecology, geology—for everyone interested in how the physical appearance of the landscape, its uses, and people’s perceptions of it have changed over time.

This project was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Technical support for Connecticut History Online is provided by the University of Connecticut.

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