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Walter Griffin   Click Images to Enlarge

Walter Griffin

Venice, Italy, 1913

Oil on board 13 x 16 inches

Signed Griffin upper left & on verso

Walter Griffin, Venice, Italy, 1913

Griffin Estate no. 197

Gold leaf period hand-carved frame

Walter Griffin

New England Landscape

Pastel on paper
7 ¼ x 10 ¾ inches

(American, 1861-1935)

Walter Griffin is one of the most French of the American impressionists. His palette is unique and closely resembles a mixture of the technical achievements of Pissarro and Seurat. Griffin was a close friend of Childe Hassam, Paul Bartlett and Francois Millet and Griffins are in 100s of museums and private collections worldwide. Dr. R. Lovejoy wrote in American Art Review (Sept.-Oct. 1975) the “work of Griffin has always ranked as one of the most uniquely personal of the mid-to-late-period school of American Impressionism.”

Griffin was born in Stroudwater, Maine and enrolled in Boston's Museum School in 1877 to study sculpture under Truman Bartlett and he was commissioned to do medallions for the MA State House in 1882, the year he moved to NYC, won a medal at the National Academy and began study there under Montague Flagg (1883-1884). For 2 years he taught at Dr. Adler's School of Art and in 1887 he sailed for England and then went to France, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian with Jean Paul Laurens, Raphael Collin and Fremiere (1887-1888). He exhibited at the 1889 Paris Salon and opened a resident-art school near Fleury or Barbizon (1890-1897).

Griffin traveled back and forth from the U.S. to Europe, opened a summer school of art in Quebec and taught in Hartford, CT (1897), exhibits extensively and with Hassam and Metcalf he joined the Old Lyme Colony of Painters (1907-1918). In 1908 he quit teaching and concentrated on point pastel, summered in Monhegan and went back to France, where he first experimented with palette knife painting (1911) in Boigneville, FR. He painted in Venice, Italy (1913-) and was given a one-man exhibition at Georges Petit Gallery , Paris (1914), the Swett Memorial Art Museum (Portland, ME 1915), the Rehn Gallery (NYC 1919, 1925), The Galleries, Carson Prairie (1929 Chicago) and others and was rave reviewed for his dashing, intricate brushwork.

Griffin became an Academician of the National Academy in 1922 and in 1925 the Luxembourg Museum acquired 10 drawings. He was also a member of the Allied Artists, NYWCC, Paris AA, Salmagundi Club, AWCS, National Institute of Arts & Letters, and the Brushians. He met Matisse in Nice (1926) and discovered the quaint village of Contes, where he painted often in later years. In 1927 he painted in Monaco and Monte Carlo and lived in France until his health failed in 1933, when he returned to Stroudwater and died May 18, 1935. In 1936 a Memorial Exhibition for Walter Griffin and Childe Hassam were given at the National Academy of Design (NYC) and Memorial Exhibition for Griffin was at the Lotos Club. In 1952 the Portland Museum (ME) gave a retrospective exhibition, and the Vose Galleries of Boston and the Signature Galleries of Chicago gave one-man exhibitions in 1975.

References: D. Hoopes, The American Impressionists 1972; Connecticut & American Impressionism p. 162; Fink, American Art of the 19 th -Century Paris Salons, p. 349; Who's Who in American Art Annuals (1933); Who Was Who in American Art, vol. 2, p. 1377.