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Connecticut Artists - Historical and Conceptual

This series introduces artists associated with certain states; this one features the state of Connecticut.

The state of Connecticut has been, and still is, the birthplace, workplace, and/or home of many fine artists.

Like many noted here, the eighteenth century was the flowering and fulfillment for many portrait artists.

b. 1751 d.1801

Ralph Earl was born in Massachusetts and established his art studio in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1774 at 23. A Loyalist, Earl refused to fight in the Revolutionary War, and his father’s suspicion that he was a spy for the British led him to disinherit his son, and Earl fled to England. There, he studied with Benjamin West. He returned to his native country after the war and settled in Connecticut, where his patrons, the country gentry, appreciated his straightforward landscapes and portraits, [Smithsonian American Art Musuem]

Mrs. Joseph Wright. 1788. oil on canvas

Like other artists of his time, Earl joined other portrait and landscape painters whose business relied on the country gentleman and their wives who loved the prestige of having a well-known artist capture the finery and status for posterity.

Sadly, Earl had a self-destructive streak and died from drinking.


Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull 1819. oil on canvas

b. 1756 d.1843

John Trumbull was frequently called the "Painter of the Revolution." The painting above is one of three that Trumbull painted during the Revolutionary period. All hang in the Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol (Fortunately, none were damaged during the Jan. 6, 2021 riots).

Son of the Connecticut governor, John Trumbull graduated from Harvard College in 1773, worked as a teacher, and then served as an aide to George Washington. Traveling to England, Trumbull also studied with Benjamin West. Encouraged by Thomas Jefferson, he began to work on historical themes. In 1817 Trumbull was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to paint four large pictures that remain in the rotunda, finishing them in 1824.


b. 1825 d.1900

Cotopaxi, 1862. oil on canvas

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Frederic was the son of a wealthy businessman. At a young age, he studied with Thomas Cole, a prestigious landscape painter. Frederic began to specialize in ambitious nature scenes, serious enough that he traveled extensively to Columbia and Ecuador, where he painted Cotopaxi. This volcanic scene was thought to reflect the volatile event of the Civil War rumbling through Church's native country.


b.1898 d.1976

American sculptor known for his "mobiles" (kinetic sculptures powered by motors or air currents). Born into a family of artists, his work gained attention in Paris in the 1920s. He was soon championed by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Rouge Triomphant [fr{ Triumphant Red 1959 - 1963

Although most famous for these mobiles, Calder created paintings, prints, and miniatures, as well as his work in theatre design, jewelry, tapestries, and political posters. Calder has extensive collections in museums across the world. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously in 1977.


b. 1928 d. 2007

Born Solomon LeWitt in Hartford, Connecticut, "Sol" was an American artist linked to various movements, notably conceptual art and minimalism. He attended Syracuse University and moved to New York City in 1963 following military service in Korea.

Untitled by Sol LeWitt

Sol worked as a graphic designer for the architect, I.M. Pei, During that period he started concentrating on sculptures of various gridlike axial arrangements of modular white aluminum, wood, or metal cubes.

Working in this vein, he concluded "that the planning of a work of art would always be more significant than its execution as an object." This became a credo of conceptual art, LeWitt wrote in Artforum magazine in 1967.

For his thoughts on "conceptual art," watch this interview with Sol LeWitt conducted by Stefan Römer. 10/2/2004, New York City.

(Full-length version available on


Living Artist

Fairfield, Connecticut

From her artist statement: "My fascination has always been with the organic line of Nature, most specifically, the ocean."

A sampling of her artwork below:


Books available on the artists in this post:


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