First Impressions

Connecticut is not only a key birthplace of American Impressionism, its museums also house an abundance of French Impressionism masterworks as well. A carefree day or two is always the perfect time for a tour, don’t you agree?

1-2 days

  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Winter
  • Fall

  • Florence Griswold Museum
  • Yale University Art Gallery
  • Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
  • Hill-Stead Museum
Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme

Florence Griswold Museum

We start in Old Lyme at the Florence Griswold Museum, where American painters once came to live and paint together under the steady eye and caring heart of Florence Griswold. Today, the museum features the works of many American Impressionists, including Childe Hassam, William Chadwick and Theodore Robinson. The grounds make for lovely strolling.

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven

Yale University Art Gallery

Next, it’s off to New Haven and the stunning Yale University Art Gallery, where many of the French Impressionists get their due. You’ll find representative works from Manet, Gauguin, Monet, van Gogh (his mesmerizing “Le café de nuit” is here) and others on display among the many other riches.

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Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Next morning, it’s up to Hartford where the various collections at the newly renovated Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art are almost too numerous to mention, but well represented among them is Impressionism, mostly of the European variety. Here you’ll find Monet, Degas, Renoir and Gauguin, among others.

Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington

Hill-Stead Museum

Finish up your tour at what was once the Pope homestead in Farmington, now known as Hill-Stead Museum. Alfred Pope was a successful 19th-century industrialist who traveled to Europe and brought painting back to hang in Connecticut. You’ll find the works by Degas, Manet, Monet, Cassatt still on the walls today. The museum features lovely gardens and grounds as well.

Impressionists, both American and European, are represented at other Connecticut museums as well. You can get a good overview by visiting the Connecticut Art Trail.