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xperience the Connecticut Art Trail, a string of 18 world-class museums looped around the scenic hills and rivers, seaside communities and revitalized downtowns of Connecticut. First, uncover the historic sites that mark revolutionary milestones of New England’s cultural upbringing, then find inspiration within experimental contemporary art. At the next stop, surprise yourself with a carefully curated university collection, and move on to remarkable representations of early American Impressionism. Following the trail introduces a treasure trove of sites, campuses, facilities and centers at the forefront of Connecticut’s art and culture. With so much to see, using an Art Pass makes it easy to find and explore each institution at your leisure. Valid for a full year, the pass allows access to any stop along the way, any time you please. Swing along the shoreline during the summer months and return through River Valley for a classic New England fall foliage tour. Whatever season you choose to explore, with pass in hand, the Connecticut Art Trail is an independent journey. Voted the best museum in Fairfield County for the past five years, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich investigates facets of art and science through changing exhibitions and inventive programming. The science collection, with its displays of rocks and minerals, is considered the best collection of its kind between New York and New Haven. The museum’s first exhibition took place in 1912 and featured works by the Greenwich Society of Artists, whose legacy now accents the collection. The Greenwich Historical Society, headquartered at the BushHolley Historic Site in Cos Cob, tells the story of Greenwich’s culture, community and history. See fine art, artifacts, textiles, and other media practiced by artists who boarded at or visited the Bush-Holley House, the home of Connecticut’s first Impressionist art colony. The Connecticut Art Trail was originally launched in 1995 as the Connecticut “Impressionist” Art Trail, uniting ten institutions with ties to the birth of American Impressionism. At the turn of the 20th century, artists inspired by Connecticut’s quiet, bucolic countryside and rural villages flocked to the state to paint en plein air and form colonies. Boasting one of the foremost collections of Impressionism in America, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme


Art New England

May/June 2014

Above: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield. Photo © Peter Aaron/Esto. Opposite top: Dale Chihuly, Blue and Beyond Blue, 2006, blown glass, 107 x 82 x 77". Photo: New Britain Museum of American Art. Opposite bottom: Map of the Connecticut Art Trail, highlighting Art Trail locations across the state. Courtesy of Connecticut Art Trail.

provides a remarkable experience. The famed boardinghouse is an historic centerpiece of the Lyme Art Colony, where some of America’s most beloved artists lived and worked. The collection includes impressionist paintings by Childe Hassam, Theodore Robinson, and William Chadwick, as well as 41 preserved panels painted on Miss. Florence’s dining room walls by thankful resident artists. The Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington is one of the nation’s few remaining representations of early 20th-century country place estates. Pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle designed the home to showcase Impressionist masterpieces amassed by her father, a collection including works by Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt, among other major artists. A centerpiece of the property is the circa 1920 sunken garden, today the center of a summertime poetry festival. Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton is one of the nation’s finest remaining landscapes of American art and includes the Weir

House, Weir and Young Studios, barns, gardens, and Weir Pond. It was home to three generations of America artists, including painter Julian Alden Weir, a leading figure in early American Impressionism and member of the Cos Cob Art Colony. Ten minutes from Weir Farm, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield is the only museum in Connecticut exclusively devoted to contemporary art, and one of the few noncollecting contemporary art museums in the U.S. Now in its 50th year, the Aldrich is dedicated to showing the work of emerging and mid-career artists. The New Britain Museum of American Art is acknowledged as the first museum in the world dedicated solely to collecting American art. The award-winning Chase Family Building houses 15 spacious galleries showcasing the permanent collection that features Thomas Hart Benton’s outstanding 18-foot mural The Arts of Life in America. A more recent acquisition is Dale Chihuly’s Blue and Beyond Blue chandelier.

Focus On: Connecticut Art Trail  
Focus On: Connecticut Art Trail