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The Old Lyme Colony was named for painters in Old Lyme, Connecticut, a village that hosted the first major art colony in America that encouraged Impressionism. Old Lyme was accessible to its New York City-based painters by excellent rail service and was located at the confluence of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. The period of its greatest activity was 1900 to 1915.
Joseph Boston was apparently the first artist to have visited and painted in Old Lyme, in 1894, conducting the Westhampton Summer School of Art there, but the town was first 'discovered' by Clark G. Voorhees on a bicycling trip in 1893. Henry Ward Ranger, considered by many to be the most acclaimed artist of the region, was already in the vicinity, but it was Voorhees's recommendation that sent him to Old Lyme in 1899. There he boarded in the slightly run-down mansion of Miss Florence Griswold, whose home rapidly became a mecca for successive waves of summer painters. Ranger took a group of his artist friends to Miss Florence's in 1900, and transformed Old Lyme into an 'American Barbizon', where he became one of the acknowledged leaders of Tonalism at the turn of the century. Ranger sought a bucolic place that was scenic, quiet, and remote and that reminded him of the village of Barbizon, France, where as a young man, he had taken up painting bucolic scenes in a Tonalist style. He sought a bucolic place that was scenic, quiet, and remote and that reminded him of the village of Barbizon, France, where as a young man, he had taken up painting bucolic scenes in a Tonalist style......
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