Noteworthy Artists Who Have Called Connecticut Home

The state of Connecticut has been, and still is, the birthplace, workplace and/or home of many fine artists. J. Alden Weir, Childe Hassam, Josef and Anni Albers, Paul Cadmus, John Henry Twachtman, Dwight Tryon, Ellis Ruley and many others called, or call, Connecticut home. Here are seven of the most noteworthy.

RALPH EARL

Classically Influenced Portraiture (b. 1751 Massachusetts; d. 1801, Bolton, based in New Haven):

"The portraits he created produce such insight into what peoples' lives were like. They have landscapes in the background. They show interiors of houses or businesses. All of these glimpse these people as individuals in a world of their own creation, surrounded by things chosen from their own houses."

Amy Kurtz Lansing, curator, Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme

JOHN TRUMBULL

American History Paintings (b. 1756, Lebanon, Conn, d. 1843, Lebanon)

"He is the painter of scenes from the American Revolution. He also painted the Declaration of Independence. Much of the image of that event is fictional as far as artistic license goes, but he is the artist who gave us the images we live off now. Those are the images of our past. The painting of the Declaration of Independence is his major contribution. Think if he hadn't done that."

Helen Cooper, Holcombe T. Green Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, Yale University Art Gallery

GEORGE HENRY DURRIE

Rural Landscapes (b. 1820, Hartford, d. 1863, New Haven)

"When we think of the New England countryside Durrie's images inform our sense of what that means, a quiet, peaceful place, old houses, a gentle balance of men and nature. ... Currier and Ives produced 10 of his works in their prints."

Amy Kurtz Lansing, curator, Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme

FREDERIC CHURCH

Prominent Hudson River School Painter (b. 1826, Hartford, d. 1900, New York)

"Church was able to give visual voice to the sciences. He read Alexander von Humbolt's "Cosmos." Humboldt said artists should summarize different geological zones. ... His painting 'New England Scenery' has a generic title, but he was being generic on purpose, following Humboldt's lead, in summarizing New England as a geological zone. He took real locations and summarized the zone into an artificial scene. It's fascinating."

Nancy Stula, director, William Benton Museum, University of Connecticut

ALEXANDER CALDER

Inventor of the Mobile (b. 1898 Pennsylvania, d. 1976, New York, lived in Roxbury)

"From 1933 on, Calder had a farmhouse in Roxbury. His time there was formative. ... A lot of artists — Arshile Gorky, Yves Tanguy and his wife Kay Sage, Andre Masson, Peter Blume and others — came to Connecticut because of their friendship with Calder. You can see the impact that the Connecticut landscape had on his works of art. You can see it reflected in the forms of his mobiles and stabiles."

Robin Jaffee Frank, Chief Curator and Krieble Curator of American Painting and Sculpture, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

SOL LeWITT

Conceptual and Minimalist Artist (b. Hartford, 1928, d. 2007, New York)

"It's astonishing to me how many young artists cite to me Sol Le Witt as an influence on their work. Before being a curator at the Wadsworth Atheneum, I always knew of LeWitt's significance, but when you move to the home city of a particular artist you learn all about where the artist comes from. The more I learn about LeWitt the more he comes to the forefront as a major artist. His international significance is really astonishing."

Patricia Hickson, Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

JASPER JOHNS

Best Known For His "Flag" Series (b. 1930 Georgia, lives in Sharon)

"Johns is a major figure in the post Abstract Expressionist generation which introduced the Pop Art Movement and later influenced Minimalism. He has given us such iconic series as his flags, targets and numbers paintings. He worked closely with Robert Rauschenberg and other titans of late 20th century modernism."

Douglas Hyland, director, New Britain Museum of American Art