OLD LYME, CT.- The Florence Griswold Museum presents May Night: Willard Metcalf in Old Lyme, on view through September 11, 2005. The profound impact of Willard Leroy Metcalf (1858-1925) on the course of the Lyme Art Colony, America’s center of Impressionism, has never been extensively chronicled. The exhibition May Night: Willard Metcalf at Old Lyme, on view from May 1 through September 11, 2005, brings the artist’s achievements at last to light. Based on new scholarship, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue trace Metcalf’s frequent visits to Florence Griswold’s boarding house in Old Lyme, Connecticut between 1905 and 1907 and examine the pivotal role of these experiences to his growing reputation as one of America’s preeminent landscape painters.
The Florence Griswold Museum is home to the largest public collection of artifacts relating to Willard Metcalf, with objects ranging from oil paintings, pastels, and silverpoints to sketchbooks, a diary, and even a cabinet of “curiosities” gathered by the artist during the course of his prolific career. The exhibition May Night emphasizes these holdings as well as loans from distinguished private collections and public institutions such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Smithsonian American Art Museum, both in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In an unprecedented synthesis of Metcalf’s greatest loves – art and the natural world - over 40 plein-air paintings are exhibited alongside the artist’s collections of meticulously labeled birds’ eggs and nests, moths, and butterflies.