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Lyme Art Colony
(1879–August 3, 1962)
In Lyme Summers: 1902-1910 and Permanently: 1915-1962
In 1902, William Chadwick, at twenty-three, was introduced to Old Lyme through colleagues at the Art Students League in New York. At the time Chadwick’s painting interests focused on portraiture and figure subjects. During that first of many summers spent in Old Lyme, Chadwick began experimenting with landscape painting, no doubt influenced by the many well-respected landscapists already attracted to the growing art colony.
For the next several years Chadwick shared studio residences in New York with Will Howe Foote and Harry Hoffman and spent summers with them at the Griswold House in Old Lyme. The painters and their families were close friends all their lives, and all of them eventually made Old Lyme their permanent homes. As Richard H. Love has noted, however, "at this time they established a working orbit between New York City and Connecticut, not vastly different from the precedent set by Twachtman, Robinson and Weir."
Chadwick studied with Joseph DeCamp at the Art Students League, and the artist’s early painting shows the mark of his instructor’s Boston School style. While in Old Lyme, Chadwick gradually absorbed the influences of the colony’s older painters, particularly Willard Metcalf and Walter Griffin. Incorporating elements from both the Boston and Old Lyme Schools, Chadwick developed his own conservative impressionistic style, marked by delicate and subtle tones.
Chadwick married Pauline Bancroft of Wilmington, Delaware, in June of 1910, and, two years later, the couple left for a lengthy trip to Europe. Most of their time abroad was spent in Italy, where they were visited by Metcalf and Griffin.
In 1915 Chadwick and his wife purchased a house on johnny Cake Hill in Old Lyme. For the next forty years the artist resolutely carried on the Impressionist tradition of painting the seasonal changes in the countryside around Old Lyme. Additionally, Chadwick made frequent sketching trips to Monhegan Island, Maine, Vermont, and Bermuda, often with one or more of his artist friends, such as Foote, Hoffman, or Charles Ebert.
The Telfair Academy in Savannah, Georgia hosted Chadwick’s first one-man show in February, 1927. One month later basically the same show was presented at the Wilmington (Delaware) Society of Fine Arts. Both exhibitions were highly praised by local critics.
Although William Chadwick never had great commercial success, he was well respected by his artist colleagues in the Lyme Art Association. Following the painter’s death in 1962, the association held a memorial show of Chadwick’s paintings in 1963. Referring to the exhibition, the artist Nelson C. White wrote:
William Chadwick’s work is distinguished for a sensitive and subtle Impressionism . . . . he evokes the mood of the shifting seasons, effects of sunshine and cloud shadows, the laurel of late spring and the snow of winter.
Chadwick recently gained national exposure in a major retrospective, William Chadwick, 1879-1962: An American Impressionist, that opened at the Lyme Historical Society in August, 1978, and circulated to several museums in the eastern United States. The exhibition was organized by R. H. Love Galleries of Chicago. Chadwick’s work is represented in the Lyme Historical Society, the Lyman Allyn Museum, and the National Collection of Fine Arts.
His obituary in the New London Day - August 6, 1962
"William Chadwick, 83, of Bailey Rd, an artist, died at his home yesterday after a long illness. Mr. Chwick was born June 3, 1879, in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England. In 1889, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Day Chadwick, came to the United States with his sone and his two sisters, Florence and Gertrude. They settled in Holyoke, Mass.
Mr. Chadwick attended public schools in HOlyoke and in 1898 attende the Art Students League in New York, making his first art exhibition in that city in 1903. He married Miss Pauline Bancroft of Wilmington, Del. and spent several years in Europe. In 1915, they made their home in Old Lyme.
In Old Lyme, Chadwick became an active member of the Lyme Art Association.."