Guy C. Wiggins (1883-1962)

Guy C. Wiggins (1883-1962)

Son of Barbizon painter Carleton Wiggins, Guy Wiggins was born in Brooklyn, New York, but moved with his family to England as a young boy. While abroad he attended a British grammar school and traveled extensively. His talent as an artist was recognized when he was only eight years old by critics who praised his watercolor sketches of France and Holland. Upon the family’s return to the United States, they settled in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Wiggins received his early instruction from his father and later studied draftsmanship at the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He then continued his studies at the National Academy of Design under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri.

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As a professional artist working in the impressionistic style success came early, and at the age of twenty Wiggins was represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Several years later, in 1917, he received the Norman Wait Harris bronze medal from the Art Institute of Chicago. His work was popular with the public, and during the years before World War I he was busy working on commissions in England.  After returning to America in 1920, he moved back to Old Lyme and worked alongside other impressionist painters, such as Emil Carlsen and Walter Griffin.

                 Throughout his career, Wiggins split his time between New York, where he painted the snow scenes for which he is today best known, and Connecticut. His greatest contributions were made in the latter, as he did much to promote the local art scene. He was a member of the Old Lyme Art Association, and in 1930 he founded the Guy Wiggins School of Art. Seven years later he moved his school to nearby Essex, Connecticut, where he founded the Essex Painter’s Society.

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