1883 - 1962
Guy Carleton Wiggins was the son of Carleton Wiggins, a painter of landscapes and animals. Wiggins first studied at his father’s Art School in Connecticut and later enrolled in the National Academy of Design where he trained with William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri, after a brief spell studying architecture at the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn. At the age of 20 he was already well known and was the youngest American artist to have a work accepted for the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Prior to the onset of World War I, Wiggins travelled to Europe and painted the English countryside. In England he met his future wife Dorothy Stuart Johnson. The couple returned to the US and set up home in Connecticut. He established a year-round art school, the Guy Wiggins Art School, in Essex. He liked to spend his winters in New York and summers in Connecticut.
Wiggins’ paintings reflect the influence of American Impressionism, a style of painting he would have encountered during his summers in Old Lyme. He is known for his snowy New York scenes, and Brooklyn Bridge in Winter is a quintessential example of that genre. He developed a style that incorporated the colour and techniques of French Impressionism along with emerging American concepts. Wiggins’ unique style and abilities brought him early acclaim, and many awards and distinctions. Throughout his life he strove to maintain the integrity and independence of his style.
Wiggins was born on February 23, 1883 in Brooklyn. His father Carleton Wiggins was an accomplished artist who gave his son his first training as a painter. He attended the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, the Art Students League of New York, and the National Academy of Design. His teachers at the academy were William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. Guy Wiggins often painted scenes of New York City, as evident in The Metropolitan Tower (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York); Washington Square in Winter (Richmond Art Museum, Indiana); Columbia Circle, Winter (National Gallery of Art, Washington); and Riverside Drive (1915).
Wiggins painted in an impressionistic style, as may be seen especially in Berkshire Hills, June (Brooklyn Museum). He traveled New England painting streams, fields and woodlands capturing on canvas the various seasons of the year. He became one of the youngest members of the Old Lyme Art Colony of Old Lyme, Connecticut, and painted alongside his father, Carleton, Childe Hassam, and Frank Vincent DuMond. Guy Wiggins began teaching art in Essex, Connecticut in 1937. He did a portrait of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and gave it to the White House in 1959.
Wiggins served as the president of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. He was a member of the National Academy of Design, the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, and the Lyme Art Association. He won the Flagg Prize, the Cooper Prize and the Atheneum Prize from the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts; the Harris Medal from the Art Institute of Chicago; the Turnbull Prize and the Isidor Prize from the Salmagundi Club; and the J. Francis Murphy Memorial Prize from the Rhode Island School of Design
He featured in American Painting 1880-1940, Owen Gallery, New York, 1996 and 1998; The American Impressionists, Adelson Galleries, New York, 1996; and The Call of the Mountains: The Artists of the Glaciers National Park, Hockaday Art Museum, Kalispell, Montana, 2002.
Chicago (AI): Snow
Cincinnati (University Fine Art Collection): Brooklyn Bridge in Winter (c. 1920)
Los Angeles: Fifth Avenue
Muskegon (MA): The Old Docks
New York (Brooklyn Mus.): Berkshire Hills in June
New York (Metropolitan Mus. of Art): Metropolitan Tower
Newark (Mus.): Winter Morning
Richmond, IN (Art Museum): Washington Square in Winter (oil on canvas)
Washington DC (Smithsonian American AM): Columbus Circle, Winter (1911, oil on canvas); Gloucester Harbor (before 1914, oil on canvas)
Wiki: Guy Wiggins
More on Impressionist Paintings.