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 (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 (1859 - 1950): Illustrator, Painter, Writer

August 6, 2017 - November 25, 2017

The painter, illustrator, and author George Wharton Edwards was celebrated in his day as a talented artist for his depictions of picturesque American and European scenes. The works assembled in this exhibition, which all come 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. Together, the works offer a glimpse into the proficiency of one of Greenwich’s most notable local artists.  

Born in Fair Haven, CT, 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 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 20th 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.

This exhibition highlighting Edwards’ artistic diversity as an illustrator, painter, and writer was curated by Courtney Skipton Long, PhD, as she completed her tenure as the Bruce Museum’s Zvi Grunberg Resident Post-Doctoral Fellowship.