Click to view the entire exhibition
June 26th - August 7th, 2010
“I labor because of my love of art and nature … My mind is teaming with beautiful visions of
landscapes, lovely dreams of pictures that I get from nature, and I hasten to work, work, while there
is yet life and health, light in my eyes and strength and clearness in my brain…”
- From the memoirs of Henry Cooke White
Henry Cooke White was an accomplished painter and writer who also worked in pastel for four
decades. He was born into a prosperous family in Hartford in 1861, an only child with little
academic ambition but an adventurous spirit. At the age of fourteen, on one of his many
explorations around Hartford, he met the famous American Tonalist painter Dwight William Tryon
(1849-1925), who became an influential part of White's professional and personal life. After lessons
in his studio, Tryon encouraged White to continue his artistic study in New York. There White took
classes at the Art Students League with Kenyon Cox (1856-1919), William Merritt Chase (1849-
1916) and John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902).
White's family had a farm in Litchfield and vacationed along the shore in Clinton, but it was as an
adult that White found land in Waterford that answered his call to the sea. He was an avid sailor and
fisherman, and as an artist found the sky and varied topography ideal for his art. The summer house
he built along the shore in Waterford would become a year-round residence and home to four
flourishing generations of artists and writers. White was encouraged by his friend, Allen Butler
Talcott, to visit and paint in Old Lyme, and did so as a part of the developing art colony beginning in
the spring of 1903.
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