Charles Ethan Porter, Fruit: Apples, Grapes, Peaches, and Pears

Charles Ethan Porter, Fruit: Apples, Grapes, Peaches, and Pears, 1875, oil on canvas – Connecticut Historical Society

The creative arts in Connecticut range from indigenous peoples’ early ceramic vessels and Puritan gravestones to the works of celebrated figures in later centuries. The latter include poetess Lydia Sigourney, painter Charles Ethan Porter, writer Mark Twain, architect Theodate Pope Riddle, and sculptor Alexander Calder. Collectors, patrons, and institutions, too, have shaped the state’s arts history. Among these are the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the first public art institution in the US, and Florence Griswold, who nurtured the Lyme Art Colony at the turn of the 20th century. Today, the arts, old and new, can be enjoyed in public spaces as well as historic venues, such as Goodspeed Opera House.

More on Arts from the CT Digital Archive

Browse more interactive content on the CT Digital Archive website.

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Connecticut Shore, Winter by John Henry Twachtman

Connecticut and American Impressionism

American Impressionists looked to a New England countryside like that in Connecticut for evidence of a stable, timeless order beneath the dazzle of the ephemeral. …[more]

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“Connecticut Art Trail,” 2012. Link.
Connecticut State Library. “WPA Art Inventory Project,” 2012. Link.


Once Upon a Time in Old Lyme the Story of an American Art Colony. DVD. Old Lyme, CT: Florence Griswold Museum, 2007.


“Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry,” 2016. Link.
“Bruce Museum,” 2016. Link.
“Connecticut Historical Society,” 2016. Link.
“Florence Griswold Museum,” 2017. Link.
“Hill-Stead Museum,” 2017. Link.
“Lyman Allyn Art Museum,” 2016. Link.
“Mattatuck Museum,” 2017. Link.
“New Britain Museum of American Art,” 2017. Link.
2012. “Real Art Ways.” Accessed June 28, 2012. Link.
Norwich Free Academy. “Slater Memorial Museum,” 2017. Link.
“The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum,” 2016. Link.
“The Housatonic Museum of Art,” 2012. Link.
“The Wadsworth Atheneum,” 2017. Link.
U.S. National Park Service. “Weir Farm National Historic Site,” 2016. Link.
“William Benton Museum of Art,” 2016. Link.
“Yale University Art Gallery,” 2017. Link.


Shattuck, Aaron D. Patent Number 320,300 - Stretcher Frame. 320,300. Granby, CT, issued June 16, 1885. Link.


Zafran, Eric, Alexander Calder, Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, Cynthia E. Roman, and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Calder in Connecticut. Hartford; New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2000.
Warren, William Lamson. Connecticut Art and Architecture: Looking Backwards Two Hundred Years. Hartford: American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut, 1976.
Connecticut Historical Society, and Susan Prendergast Schoelwer. Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art, and Family, 1740-1840. Hartford; Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2010.
Speck, Frank G. Decorative Art of Indian Tribes of Connecticut. Anthropological Series 10. Ottawa, Canada: Government Printing Bureau, 1915. Link.
Kornhauser, Elizabeth Mankin, Amy Ellis, Maureen Miesmer, and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Hudson River School: Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.
Schoelwer, Susan P., ed. Lions & Eagles & Bulls: Early American Tavern & Inn Signs from the Connecticut Historical Society. Hartford, CT: Connecticut Historical Society, 2000.
Larkin, Susan G. The Cos Cob Art Colony: The Impressionists on the Connecticut Shore. New York; New Haven, CT: National Academy of Design; Yale University Press, 2001.
Hosley, William N, and G.W.R. Ward, eds. The Great River: Art & Society of the Connecticut Valley, 1635-1820. Hartford, CT: Wadsworth Atheneum, 1985.
Kenney, John Tarrant. The Hitchcock Chair; the Story of a Connecticut Yankee--L. Hitchcock of Hitchcocks-Ville--and an Account of the Restoration of His 19th-Century Manufactory. New York, NY: C.N. Potter, 1971.