Bermuda Shore (oil on canvas) by William Chadwick 1922. *Photo courtesy of Masterworks
Bermuda Shore (oil on canvas) by William Chadwick 1922. *Photo courtesy of Masterworks

The convivial atmosphere of the Old Lyme (Connecticut) Art Colony under the pervasive influence of Childe Hassam attracted the group of artists most closely associated with American Impressionism.

Among these were Edmund Greacen, Harry Hoffman, Will Howe Foote, Charles Ebert, Clark Voorhees and William Chadwick. The colony’s founder was Henry Ward Ranger, who started the “American Barbizon” in 1900 and out of it emerged a center of American Impressionism. As Jeffrey Anderson, director of the Lyme Historical Society stated: “They developed a style that was uniquely American in its fusion of the structure and contemplative qualities of Barbizon with the application of the broken colour techniques of impressionism.” 

There was a unique bond of fellowship between these artists and this led to the notion of plein air painting to be transported to Bermuda-especially in the winter when painting out-doors was decidedly chilly in New England. 

We think Chadwick, who was originally from Dewsbury, Yorkshire, first wintered in Bermuda in 1916 to 17, which became an annual tradition and from November 1921 to May 1922 rented “Fairmont” in Paget near “Sothcote” which was occupied by Will Howe Foote. Clark Voorhees was in Somerset at “Tranquility” so the Old Lyme Colony was well represented on the island. 

It was at this time that Chadwick painted Bermuda Shore which was typical of his style using broken colour and a natural palette. 

Elise Outerbridge is curator at Masterworks.