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Art Safari

Exploring two influential galleries close to home

Southport Harbor by Peter Arguimbau at J. Russell Jinishian Gallery

Lazy summer doldrums? Cast your eye to the horizon and explore your mind-opening options, including those close to home. You can invigorate your cultural agenda and stay in state. By the time you gather with your friends for a sunset beach picnic supper at Jennings or Sasco, you could find yourself saying, “Oh, we just had a fantastic day exploring, experiencing and looking at the best American art imaginable.”

The Home Advantage

Sometimes we can take for granted what is closest to us. What a mistake. Just up Bronson Road, don’t hesitate to peek into the newly opened and the nation’s largest gallery specializing in fine marine and sporting art, the J. Russell Jinishian Gallery. Featuring more than 400 paintings, drawing, sculptures, ship models and scrimshaw, Jinishian has devoted over thirty-five years assembling this discriminating collection.

“We really love sharing our treasures with our visitors from Fairfield,” he says. “And, who knows, maybe you’ll bump into one of our nationally known artists for a quick, impromptu chat.” Peter Arguimbau, of Rowayton, who recently painted Southport Harbor in all of its quiet majesty, is just one prime example. Transforming a summer day into the timeless natural paradise, an artist of Arguimbau’s caliber elevates our spirits while providing us with a delightfully meaningful moment beyond the doldrums and our work-driven routine.

Make an Impression

Just an hour up I-95, off Exit 70, you’ll discover the Florence Griswold House and Museum, a national historic landmark and world-renowned home of American Impressionism. First-time visitors are uniformly seduced by the artistic and natural intelligence of its sprawling ensemble of idyllically designed, picturesque environs. Historic buildings and barns and a state-of-the-art museum are perched on the banks of the Lieutenant River as if freshly dappled from the brush of Childe Hassam. With its sweeping vistas of a gently meandering river, this setting is a living canvas composed of planted gardens, wild grasses, vintage structures and puffy clouds shimmering within our retinal glances. No wonder why the Old Lyme Art Colony sought out this Yankee version of Claude Monet’s enchanted Giverny.

Once inside the light-filled museum and antique house, you will experience the integration of life and art within the Connecticut landscape as depicted by the resident American Impressionist masters William Chadwick, William Metcalf, Theodore Robinson and the pioneering female painter of the group, Matilda Browne. Extending a warm welcome is Museum Director Jeffrey Andersen, who says: “We hope to see many visitors from Fairfield this summer. There is plenty to do here in Old Lyme, especially to keep a family entertained.”

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