George Wharton Edwards (1859-1950): Illustrator, Painter, Writer

  • GREENWICH, Connecticut
  • /
  • September 14, 2017

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George Wharton Edwards (American, 1859-1950) Farmhouses on Monhegan Island, n.d. Oil on canvas mounted on board. 18 1/2 x 25 in. Anonymous Gift, Bruce Museum Collection 80.23.01
George Wharton Edwards (American, 1859-1950) The Bridge at Ronda, Pyrenees, n.d. Oil on canvas. 29 x 30 in. Purchased with the George Norris Morgan Fund, Bruce Museum Collection, 16365

George Wharton Edwards (1859-1950): Illustrator, Painter, Writer opened on August 5 and continues through November 25, 2017 at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Conn. The show features more than thirty paintings, drawings and sketches that spotlight the art of George Wharton Edwards, a turn-of-the-century painter, illustrator and author who lived in Greenwich. Edwards was celebrated in his own day as a talented artist for his depictions of picturesque American and European scenes in a variety of media.

George Wharton Edwards (American, 1859-1950) Verdun Cathedral, 1910. Crayon on paper.17 x 11 in. Gift of Mrs. Peter K. Olitsky, Bruce Museum Collection 69.22

“The works assembled here from the Bruce Museum’s extensive collection, show that Edwards preferred an underlying technical draftsmanship in his works on paper and a more fluid treatment, in the manner of American Impressionism, in his oils on canvas,” notes Courtney Skipton Long, Ph.D., guest curator and former Bruce Museum Zvi Grunberg Resident Postdoctoral Fellow. “Together, these works offer a glimpse into the proficiency of one of Greenwich’s most notable local artists,” Long explains, “by highlighting Edwards’ artistic diversity as an illustrator, painter, and writer.”

Born in Fair Haven, Connecticut, Edwards grew up drawing on makeshift canvases—façades of barns, stone well-curbs, and wooden doghouses—before he moved to France in the early 1880s to study with the academic painter, Jacques-Eugène Feyen (1815-1908). From Paris, Edwards frequently traveled to other major cities to paint and sketch. In 1884, he returned to the United States and eventually settled in Greenwich, CT, where he often revisited his European architectural drawings of Belgium, England, France, and Italy, as source material for the books he wrote and illustrated, such as Vanished Halls and Cathedrals of France (1917). By the early twentieth century, Edwards became close friends with the American Impressionists associated with the Cos Cob Art Colony and the Greenwich Society of Artists. He was a founding member and long-time secretary for the latter.

The exhibition George Wharton Edwards (1859-1950): Illustrator, Painter, Writer is supported by The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund and the Connecticut Office of the Arts. The Bruce Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm, at One Museum Drive, Greenwich, CT 06830. For more information, visit or call 203-869-0376.

Tags: american art

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