Lyme in Winter

Everett Warner (1877 - 1963)

After a brief visit in 1909, Everett Warner spent much of 1910 at the Griswold House. He returned to Old Lyme on and off for the next 25 years, finding there an atmosphere that fueled the intense focus he always brought to his work. Old friend and fellow art colonist Harry Hoffman recalled that Warner painted this panel around 1914.

The scene is typical of Warner’s response to the Old Lyme landscape and, even more importantly, to the influence of the Impressionism of Childe Hassam and Willard Metcalf. Under their spell Warner became an Impressionist in Old Lyme. In 1910 he worked deep into the winter, inspired by the infinite variety of color and mood in the snowy fields and hills. Snow subjects would be his specialty for the rest of his career. The scene resembles several of Warner’s easel paintings, such as Snow Covered Hills (c. 1912) also in the collection of the Florence Griswold Museum. A few evergreens and a bare tree on a snowy hillside, a landscape in the distance, and blue sky are hallmarks of these works, which were featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions between 1912 and 1915, along with other signature Old Lyme subjects that Warner painted and etched, such as the Congregational Church, Bow Bridge, and the Griswold House.


Everett Warner (1877-1963)
Lyme in Winter, c. 1914
Oil on wood panel
Gift of the Artist

 


Everett Warner (1877-1963)
Snow Covered Hills, c. 1912
Oil on panel
Gift of Mrs. Eleanor DelMar Revill

A picture as seemingly simple as this is nonetheless untraditional by late 19th-century standards: no central focus, no framing at the sides,
no traditional perspective, not enough “finish.” Instead, the composition is asymmetric, and the eye is attracted more to the foreground and background than to the middle. Indeed, one’s eye is encouraged to move about rather than to settle on anything for long. A boulder in the foreground vies for attention with the imposing trio of evergreens beyond. A leafless tree swoops the eye to the top of the painting. One looks down to the landscape in the distance from the promontory, then up to the horizon – a sense of distance achieved without traditional linear perspective. Patches of white and pastel colors pull the eye up and down and from side to side (Note the colored shadows, common to Impressionism). The picture is a careful balancing act of form, color, texture, spatial relationships, and line.

This first of several phases in Warner’s career was followed by a series of New York cityscapes and river views, as well as by Pittsburgh industrial scenes, experiments in camouflage during World War I, and finally by aerial views thought to be the first paintings ever done in flight.

 


Everett Warner (1877-1963)
The Village Church, c. 1910
Oil on canvas
Gift of Hannah Coffin Smith in Honor of Her Father, Winthrop Coffin

Artist Facts:

Everett Longley Warner
Born July 16, 1877, Vinton, Iowa
Died October 20, 1963
In Old Lyme, 1909-1935


Everett Warner (1877-1963)
Studios Behind the Florence Griswold House, c. 1912
Oil on canvas

 


Everett Warner (1877-1963)
Winter on the Lieutenant River
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Trustees in Honor of Jeffrey Andersen

 


Everett Warner (1877-1963)
Wiggle Drawing (Female Bather)
Graphite on paper