Woodbury Antiques & Fine Art

Artist Biographies:

William Chadwick (1879-1963)

      Impressionist William Chadwick initially focused on portrait and then landscape subjects and spent much time at the artists colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut. He had a strong reputation among his colleagues but was not greatly known beyond his own circle. He was born in Dewsbury, England, and emigrated to New York City where friends from the Art Students League encouraged him, age 23, to paint at Old Lyme, Connecticut. This experience redirected him from portrait and figure subjects to landscapes. William Chadwick did not actively seek the limelight of the art world during his life. It is conjectured that, as the son of an industrialist and not requiring an income from his painting, he preferred to perfect his art. When he got married in 1910 he embarked with his wife on four year plus honeymoon to see Europe. As his grandson once remarked, staying on vacation is fun, particularly when one periodically telegraphs home asking for more money. Regardless of his luck when he returned to the United States following the outbreak of World War One he made his move permanently settling in Old Lyme where he became a leading member of the Lyme Art Association. He continued to travel and his landscapes are known of New Hope PA, Monhegan, ME, Bermuda in the early 1920's, as well as having produced canvases during the earlier trip to Europe. He is best known for his landscapes of the Old Lyme, CT area with his mountain laurel paintings becoming iconographic images of Connecticut Impressionism. While he studied under John Twachtmann in his student days, his style most reflects that of his close friend Childe Hassam, particularly Hassam's period, such as when Hassam painted his famous flag series of New York City or his Easthampton, Long Island landscapes.
       In 1925 Chadwick became the leading teacher of art at the Telfair Academy in Savannah, Georgia, thus bringing the Old Lyme style of American Impressionism to a new part of the country. Ten years ago the Telfair Academy did a catalogue on painting in Savannah called Looking Back: Art in Savannah 1900-1960, by Pamela D. King & Harry H. DeLorme, Jr. and the finest painting in the show was a painting by Chadwick on the cover of a local Episcopal Church. Other artists of note had passed through that neck of the woods, but it was Chadwick's tenure down there for five years in the late 1920's that helped Savannah become one of the cultural centers of the Southeast in the first half of the twentieth century. Chadwick continued to visit the American South after the term at the Telfair and is known to have visited Florida, and South Carolina in addition to return trips to Georgia. A frequent traveling companion was the artist Harry Leslie Hoffman (1871-1964) who introduced Chadwick to painting in the Bahamas as well.
          Chadwick died in 1963, and while his family lives in Old Lyme to this very day, much of his old property was donated to the Florence Griswold Museum, and the new structure there, designed to house the Hartford Steamboiler Collection recently donated to the museum, was built on land donated by the family. Besides the Florence Griswold Museum, his work can be seen in the Lyman Allen Art Museum, New London, CT; Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, CT; Mt. Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, MA; George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield, MA; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; the Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, SC; and the Telfair Academy, Savannah, GA.