Roger Dennis


Roger Dennis Biography



(1902 – 1996)

Born in Norwich, Connecticut, Roger Dennis has been considered one of Connecticut's premier Impressionist painters. Often called "our link with the best of the past," he knew and worked with many of the Lyme Colony artists who made the Florence Griswold House their headquarters at the turn of the century. He was devoted to the Lyme Art Association and its members, and served on the Exhibition Committee for many years.

In the early 1930s, he studied with James McManus at the Art Students League in Hartford; with Allen Cochran in Woodstock, New York; and Emile Gruppe in Gloucester.

After working as a sign painter for the city of New London, as well as a part-time musician and artist, he studied painting conservation and restoration. He set up and ran the Conservation department at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum for thirty-three years. During this time, he was also a Conservator for the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford and had the opportunity to work on the preservation of many styles and types of art for museums and private collections.

 His earlier works are in a realistic mode, which later developed into his own style of Impressionism. Like many of the Old Lyme Impressionists, he painted the local landscape at different times of day and in different seasons of the year, invoking changing moods. The "mood" of the weather often determined his brushstroke...sometimes quick and with a sketchy look where his brushwork left white canvas showing between the colors, and other times using heavy impasto of layered and expressive colors. His sense of color, light and shadow have a quality of charm and beauty...and the joy of execution is apparent.

His love of nature is alive in his paintings. His earlier paintings included figure and still life, but his favorite subjects were landscapes as he captured the salt marshes of the Connecticut rivers, woods and glades, rocky pastures, overlooks and old oak trees. And his love of New England is evident---the rocky seacoast and harbors of Maine and the woods, barns, stone walls, farms, country roads, mountains and streams of New Hampshire and Vermont. Color-filled summer gardens were always a favorite subject.

In 1993, Roger Dennis was the subject of an hour-long "Art Talk" television feature entitled "Through the Eyes of Roger Dennis" sponsored by the Griffis Art Center. In June 1997, the Roger W Dennis Impressionist Garden was dedicated in his memory on the grounds of the Griffis Art Center in New London, Connecticut.