Expanding Horizons: Celebrating 20 Years of the Hartford Steam Boiler Collection
November 7, 2020-May 23, 2021
- 24-hour advance reservations are available. Visitors without pre-booked tickets will be admitted as capacity allows. Masks and physical distancing are required of everyone onsite regardless of vaccination status.
These exhibitions have been made possible with the generous support of Connecticut Humanities, HSB, The David T. Langrock Foundation, the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, Ms. Barbara Smith, Mr. Andy Baxter, Mr. Jon Cohen, The Vincent Dowling Family Foundation, Mr. & Mrs. J. Geddes Parsons, Bouvier Insurance, Mr. & Mrs. Richard H. Booth, Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey Cooley, Mr. David W. Dangremond, Mr. Frank W. Hamilton III, The George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Roy and Deborah Moore, Mr. & Mrs. Jeb N. Embree, Mr. & Mrs. Larry J. Lawrence, George & Jane Rapport, Mr. William Blunt White, Dr. Margaret O’Shea & Mr. Daniel O’Shea, Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Butler, Carolyn Wakeman & Robert Tierney, as well as donors to the Museum’s Annual Fund. Media Sponsor: Connecticut Public.
The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company’s gift of their art collection to the Florence Griswold Museum in 2001 marked an unprecedented milestone in the Museum’s history. As the home of the Lyme Art Colony based at Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse, the Museum’s collection prior to 2001 had focused on examples by American Tonalist and Impressionist artists who had painted on its grounds at the turn of the 20th century. With the Hartford Steam Boiler’s 190-piece gift, the scope of the Museum’s collection instantly broadened, both geographically and chronologically, to include artists working in every corner of Connecticut from the 18th- to the mid-20th century. While landscape was the preferred subject of most Lyme Colony artists, the HSB Collection brought to the institution a variety of canonical American portraits, still lifes, figurative compositions, narrative scenes, and landscapes painted by artists from outside of Old Lyme.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this transformative gift, we present highlights from the collection with an emphasis on new methods of research and interpretation, showcasing the innovative ways in which scholarship has progressed over the past two decades. Commemorating twenty years, twenty leading scholars of American art have been invited to lend their expertise and unique perspectives on individual works.
The HSB Collection was gifted in the spirit of public accessibility and learning. Museums are not static institutions—they but must constantly self-reflect and reevaluate their collections to connect historical works with changes happening in our contemporary world. The field of art history has followed the evolving trajectory of our socio-political culture by seeking more inclusive perspectives that reflect greater diversity. The expanded horizons with which we are regarding the HSB Collection will offer exciting avenues for its continued study and display in future decades at the Museum.