American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
(Please Scroll Down and Page Ahead--Catalogue is Alphabetical by Artist Last Name)
Artist Name:      Guy C. Wiggins
Artist Dates:      1883 - 1962
Painting Title:    Early Spring Essex
Painting Date:    1950
Medium:            Oil on Canvas
Signature:           Signed Lower Right
Provenance:        Authenticated
Condition:           Excellent
Size Unframed:   25 x 30
Artist Best Price: $374,400
Offered At:           CALL
Curator's Comments: Guy Wiggins, Jr., at 90, while dining with us at the Salmagundi Club, spoke of
his father’s life in Essex, Connecticut, emphasizing several times that in the depths of the Great
Depression, “Dad, just kept trying.” The family had moved from New York City to the Impressionist
community at Lyme, Connecticut, where Wiggins Jr. was born in 1920. Prior to the Depression his
father purchased a farm “with outbuildings and even a sheepfold,” which were turned into an art school
with as many as 100 students upto 1937. But after the breakup of Wiggins’ marriage to his English wife,
Dorothy Stuart Johnson, he and Guy Jr. lived in “the Gris,” the Griswold Inn in Essex from 1937 to
1941, when the son joined the military and then the foreign service. Wiggins Sr. kept a residence in
Essex, but after the war alternated between his New York studio and Florida as well.
We think the series of Essex paintings is extremely
interesting, as the comparable images suggest. Wiggins
employed the formula that had worked well for him in New
York, focusing on structures (note his early training as an
architect) and, typically, a solitary figure—what emerges f is
a reminder that it would be good to get out of the snowy
street and into the warmth of the human community within
the seemingly empty buildings. In Essex, Wiggins wanted to
catch the pervasive harmony of the country village-- painting
its lanes, its dwellings and, instead of the snow, he focuses
on the interaction of trees and greens with the houses—once
again all is silent, but we know that life is going on in the
homes seen here in
Early Spring in Essex. The coloration
ranging from the forsythia’s bursting yellow to the palest
green of the elms’ emerging leaves bathes the houses in
green tones of their own. As Adrienne L. Walt wrote in the
American Art Review, "His resolution was to constantly
emphasize color, elevating it above all else and achieving
luminosity through it." Wiggins is often compared with
Hassam, but we think the latter is much more derivative in a
European impressionist sense. Wiggins’ impressionism is
smoother, more subtle in its tonality, and his fauvist
simplicity catches something veryAmerican—also seen in his
father’s works—a much more honest treatment of the
image to our mind. And we tend to agree with those critics
who have felt that his repeated application of a similar
approach to snow scenes in various locales of New York
became somewhat repetitive in contrast to the spontaneity of
his Old Lyme summer landscapes. Here we can better see
the naivete that Wiggins wants.
We must add that forgeries
of the New York City snowscapes are a very real threat for
collectors. Our work has been authenticated by the artist's
   Our TV Star is Back!
We are pleased to report that Early
Spring in Essex
was chosen as one of
twenty-five paintings selected for the
recent--three generation--Wiggins,
Wiggins,Wiggins exhibit held at the
Salmagundi Club which reported
attendance of 10,000 by the NY Times
and the painting was seen  on Channel 7
in the background of an interview with
Guy A. Wiggins, the artist's son!
Two Views of the "Gris"
Wiggins revives a feeling of contentment in the simple things of life, which was in accord with the
Eisenhower years. He too wanted to restore the American dream. Old Lyme, Connecticut in the
1930's was the Bedford Falls of Frank Capra's
It's A Wonderful Life, where life beats despair any day,
and Essex bills itself as “the best small town in America.” We think a mature Wiggins was painting
his goodbye to the New England coastal village that he thought of as home. Today the elms may be
gone, but the spirit that is here is so much of New England that every time we look at this work it
calls to mind the country towns of Massachusetts and Connecticut we have lived in and never can
forget. Notice too how the eye is quick to enter the deep shade of the porch touching on the forsythia.
There are tunnels here, passages thru windows and doors and trees, with the lane itself becoming a
tree-topped tunnel that goes on forever. The more we look at this work, the more we see, which is its
greatness as a work of art. Notice the bend in the lane to the left and how it balances the convexity of
the road, and the green within its surface. We see something new here everyday--subtle expressions
that make this a keeper. This is the real thing--and  very much worth owning--don't miss it.
Guy Wiggins, ca. 1945
Born in 1883 in Brooklyn, New York, Guy C. began his training under his father. The Wiggins name is
associated with three generations of artists: Carleton Wiggins (1848-1932); Guy Carleton Wiggins
(1883-1962); and Guy A. Wiggins (b. 1920). However, the "artistic" reputation of Guy C. Wiggins
surpasses both that of his father and his son. Wiggins spent part of his childhood in England and on
the Continent when his father took the family abroad. He entered the Polytechnic Institute in
Brooklyn to study architecture, but soon decided to become a painter and transferred to the National
Academy of Design, where he studied with Chase and Henri too. His New York cityscape painting,
Metropolitan Tower, purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1912, is said to have made
Wiggins the youngest American artist to have his  work enter that museum's permanent collection.
More interesting for us, in 1922, the Rhode Island School of Design awarded Wiggins their J. Francis
Murphy Memorial Prize. Wiggins has three paintings in the Smithsonian (one more than his father)
and two in the White House.
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