Flora/Fauna: The Naturalist Impulse in American Art

June 3 – September 17, 2017

Willard Metcalf, Collection Chest, Wood containing a collection of butterflies, moths, birds’ eggs, nests and supporting documents, 64 ½ x 42 ¼ x 14 ¼, Florence Griswold Museum

Willard Metcalf, Collection Chest, Wood containing a collection of butterflies, moths, birds’ eggs, nests and supporting documents, 64 ½ x 42 ¼ x 14 ¼, Florence Griswold Museum

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An American Place: The Art Colony at Old Lyme

Ongoing Exhibition in Florence Griswold House second floor gallery


During the first two decades of the 20th century, the village of Old Lyme, Connecticut was the setting for one of the largest and most significant art colonies in America. Centered in the boardinghouse of Miss Florence Griswold, the colony attracted many leading artists – Henry Ward Ranger, Childe Hassam, and Willard Metcalf among them – who were in the vanguard of the Tonalist and Impressionist movements.  Read More…




Fall Exhibitions
September 30, 2017-January 28, 2018
Three exhibitions examine social consciousness and community participation.

George Hand Wright, ‘Battle Scene, WWI,” charcoal and watercolor on brown paper, collection of Florence Griswold Museum

World War I and Connecticut Artists illuminates the significant role played by artists with ties to Connecticut in mobilizing public sentiment for America’s entry into the war and in defining a new role for art in the field of modern warfare. In particular, members of the Lyme Art Colony pioneered designs for naval camouflage painted on the hulls of ships and created celebrated images such as Childe Hassam’s depictions of a flag-draped New York as the emblem of the nation that would tip the balance in favor of the Allies.

Oscar Fehrer, “Reflecting and Reflections,” 1918, Oil on canvas, 43 x 39 in., Florence Griswold Museum

Oscar Fehrer: Reflecting and Reflections presents a selected retrospective of work from every period of Fehrer’s career—early charcoal drawings, portraits, and plein air landscapes—to reconsider Fehrer’s contribution to the art world on both a local and international level.

Pola Esther, from the series “A Room of her Own (Ballad of Ruth Coxe)”

Contemporary photographer Pola Esther presents A Room of Her Own (Ballad of Ruth Coxe), an exhibition of photographs and installation elements that conjure this complex and unconventional woman. Coxe, who died at age 85 in 2015, was an embattled figure who clashed with others on politics, feminism, and religion.

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Pen to Paper: Artists’ Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art
February 9, 2018—May 6, 2018

Leonore Tawney, 1966. Photograph by Clayton J. Price, courtesy of Leonore G. Tawney Foundation. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Pen to Paper, a selection from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, reveals the beauty and intimacy of the craft of letter writing. Pen to Paper explores the handwriting of celebrated artists such as Berenice Abbott, Alexander Calder, Mary Cassatt, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Eakins, Howard Finster, Harriet Hosmer, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Motherwell, Claes Oldenburg, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, John Singer Sargent, James McNeil Whistler, and many others.

To complement the Smithsonian’s collection, a selection of handwritten letters from the Florence Griswold Museum Archives will augment the display. Read more…


During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the mastery of needlework was essential to a young woman’s future.

Delve into the Wilsons’ experiences in Old Lyme and gain insight on a First Family who called Miss Florence’s house their home away from home.

The photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975) captured a place in American social, cultural, and artistic history with his unforgettable images of the Great Depression.