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Greenwich Historical Society Opens New Exhibit On Cos Cob Art Colony

"The New Spirit and the Cos Cob Art Colony: Before and After The Armory Show" is on display at the Greenwich Historical Society at 39 Strickland Road.
"The New Spirit and the Cos Cob Art Colony: Before and After The Armory Show" is on display at the Greenwich Historical Society at 39 Strickland Road. Photo Credit: Greenwich Historical Society

GREENWICH, Conn. -- As the centenary for the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art approaches, the Greenwich Historical Society will mark this milestone in American art with an exhibition exploring the involvement of the Cos Cob art colony.

The exhibit, "The New Spirit and the Cos Cob Art Colony: Before and After The Armory Show," will be on display through Jan. 12 at the society, 39 Strickland Road. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, free for children 6 and younger and free for members.

The Armory Show exposed the American art world, the public, and the press to the progressive innovators of European art for the first time. Works from Paul Cézanne to Pablo Picasso were presented alongside a range of works by American artists. The introduction of their new ideas heralded a new aesthetic and a wider acceptance of Modernism, yet no exhibition to date has explored the direct effect the show had on artists and their artistic production.

The new exhibit will follow the story of the Armory show, as well as the results of exhibiting European art, both historic and ultra-modern alongside American art. By highlighting selected works by the Cos Cob artists from before and after the show, this exhibit will illustrate how modernism became more widely assimilated into the mainstream of American art.

The new show includes about 40 works of art, including a few that were shown in the 1913 Armory Show, along with archival materials and ephemera from the Greenwich Historical Society, major museums and private collections. The exhibition will focus on Cos Cob artists D. Putnam Brinley, Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, Elmer MacRae, Carolyn C. Mase, Frank A. Nankivell, Henry Fitch Taylor, Allen Tucker, Alden Twachtman and J. Alden Weir, and will look at the impact the Armory Show had on those who continued to work after the exhibition.

The exhibit also will include influential pioneering artists, Theodore Robinson and John Twachtman, whose work was included in the Armory Show but who had died years earlier.

A number of Greenwich-area artists played important roles in the actual production of the Armory Show: MacRae and Taylor were two of the four artists who conceived the idea for the exhibition in 1911, Brinley, Lawson, Tucker, and Weir were charter members of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, the organizing body of the Armory Show, and Brinley, Lawson, MacRae, Nankivell, Taylor, and Tucker all served as members of various committees.

Cos Cob artist MacRae, who lived and painted at the historical society’s Bush-Holley House, served as treasurer for the show, and the Greenwich Historical Society is a major repository for archival material from the show, as well as a major holder of works by MacRae, many of which will be on display.

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