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Allen Butler Talcott
Lyme Art Colony
In Lyme: 1901-1908
Allen Butler Talcott was one of the first members of the Lyme Art Colony. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut to a prominent New England family. He began his studies at the Hartford Art Society under Dwight William Tryon and went on to the Art Students League in New York. Later he enrolled at the Academie Julian in Paris. Talcott's work was first recognized while he was still abroad: several of his paintings were included in the Paris Salons of 1893 and '94. Later his work appeared regularly in exhibitions at the National Academy of Design in New York. He died of a heart attack at 41, just as he was beginning a new phase of artistic experimentation his colleagues considered unusually promising.
Talcott's earliest recognition came in 1893 and 1894 when his works were included in the Paris Salon of those years. Later he was represented regularly at exhibitions at the National Academy of Design, the Carnegie Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Society of American Artists. He won a silver medal at the 1904 St. Louid Worl's Fair with a group of four paintings. In addition to having a studio in Hartford for several years, Talcott also moved to the New York cooperative studio complex at 27 West 67th Street, an address where several of the Lyme artists lived.
Talcott is generally considered a Barbizon and Tonalist painter whose work was influenced by henry Ward Ranger and Dwight Tryon. Roughly textured, sun-dappled oaks became one of his favorite subjects. According to the artist Charles Vezin, "no one was [Talcott's} peer in the knowledge of trees and how to paint them." His great appreciation of nature is evident in all his paintings.
Talcott first came to Old Lyme in 1901, staying at Miss Florence Griswold's house. In 1903 he purchased an estate overlooking the Connecticut River. His untimely death in 1908 at the age of 41 cut short a promising career.
Additional Reading: "The Poetry of Light and Land" exhibition catalogue, The Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, CT, 1991.