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Theme One: The American Art Colony at Lyme

This theme explores the history of the Florence Griswold House as the center of the Lyme Art Colony and places it in the broader context of American art history.

The American art colony movement occurred from the 1880s to the 1920s, when artists retreated to rural locations to find picturesque subjects, inexpensive lodgings, respites from the routines of urban life, and the opportunity to live and work with like-minded individuals.


Related Student Learning Goals

Students will understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.

Visual Arts Content Standard 4: History and Cultures

Students will reflect upon, describe, analyze, interpret and evaluate their own and others’ work.

Visual Arts Content Standard 5: Analysis, Interpretation, and Evaluation

Students will make connections between the visual arts, other disciplines and daily life.

Visual Arts Content Standard 6: Connections

Students will develop historical thinking skills, including chronological thinking and recognizing change over time; contextualizing, comprehending and analyzing historical literature; researching historical sources; understanding the concept of historical causation; understanding competing narratives and interpretation; and constructing narratives and interpretation.

Social Studies Content Standard 1: Historical Thinking

Students will recognize the continuing importance of historical thinking and historical knowledge in their own lives and in the world in which they live.

Social Studies Content Standard 4: Applying History

Students will use spatial perspective to identify and analyze the significance of physical and cultural characteristics of place and world regions.

Social Studies Content Standard 9: Places and Regions


There are several sections of The Fox Chase site where students can investigate Theme One: The American Art Colony at Old Lyme.

Go to School of Lyme for information regarding the working methods of the artists in both their studio and when working “en plein air”.

Go to Who’s Who in the Boardinghouse for information regarding the different roles played by the people who were part of the boardinghouse.

Go to Painting Tools for information regarding the tools and techniques of the artists who came to Old Lyme.

Go to The Griswold House for information regarding the history of the house and Griswold family.

Go to Chadwick Studio for information about the artist studio located on the grounds of the Florence Griswold Museum.

Go to Henry Ward Ranger for information regarding the founder of the Lyme Art Colony and his interest in Tonalism.

Go to Tonalism for information regarding the style of painting most popular during the early years of the Lyme Art Colony.

Go to Childe Hassam for information regarding the artist who is credited with bringing American Impressionism to Old Lyme.

Go to American Impressionism for information regarding the style of painting most popular during the later years (after 1903) of the Lyme Art Colony.

Go to Imagine Yourself as an Artist for information regarding what a typical artist would experience arriving at the Griswold House.

Go to The Landscape of Old Lyme for information regarding the geological history of the region.

Go to The Village of Old Lyme for information regarding the economic development of the village.


There are several sections of In Situ: The Painted Panels site where students can investigate Theme One: The American Art Colony at Old Lyme.

Go to Hound Dog Baying at the Moon/Bow Bridge by Moonlight by Henry Rankin Poore and Henry Ward Ranger for a great example of two panels painted by different artists who matched in subject, style, and color.

Go to The Fox Chase by Henry Rankin Poore for a historical overview of the creation of this painting.

Go to Poor Little Bloticelli by Willard Metcalf for information regarding issues of gender within the art colony system.


There are several sections of Resources for Educators site where students can investigate Theme One: The American Art Colony at Old Lyme.

Go to Timeline for information regarding the development of the Lyme Art Colony along with other major historical moments.

Go to Wiggle Drawings for information regarding this historic activity played by the artists. The game and resulting images offer a window into the past.

Go to Movie House to view all of the vintage film footage available from the Lyme Artists reels.