The Orchard, 1916
26 1/8 in. x 32 1/8 in.
(June 10, 1870–April 14, 1941)
Medium and Support:
oil on canvas
Florence Griswold Museum; Gift of Mrs. Lucien Abrams
Not long after settling in Old Lyme, artist Lucien Abrams painted this picture of the orchard behind Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse. The Griswold family had long pursued small-scale farming, and the 1880 census records that on their 15-acre estate, one acre was devoted to an orchard consisting of 15 trees. Abrams depicts the mature trees, which attracted artists to the colony during apple blossom time, when painters such as Childe Hassam set up easels outdoors to capture the radiant, ruffled petals. A female figure seated in the foreground suggests that by 1916, the orchard was as much a site for outdoor leisure as an agricultural resource.
The American-born Abrams spent many years abroad before returning to this country in 1914. In France, he absorbed the expressive brushwork and non-naturalistic color palette of the post-Impressionists, which he translated into the gestural application of red and purple for the contours of the tree trunks in The Orchard.