American Art Colonies, 1850-1930: A Historical Guide to America's Original Art Colonies and Their Artists

By Steve Shipp | Go to book overview
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Chapter 2
Cornish Art Colony

Cornish was becoming known. In New York in winter, if one happened to speak of it, the conversation was likely to halt and someone would say, "Do you spend the summer in Cornish? Tell us about it." Its reputation was not wholly good; it was said to be not a place but a state of mind, as Boston was said to be.

Frances Grimes

Essentially, the atmosphere of Cornish is one of culture and hard work, for the men who go there do not go to spend their time in idleness, and some of their best accomplishment have been achieved in the little colony among the hills of New Hampshire.

New York Sunday Tribune ( 1907)

Cornish, New Hampshire, was barely a small village on the western border of New Hampshire and Vermont when the noted sculptor * Augustus Saint-Gaudens was invited by a friend to consider working there on his sculpture commissions. Saint-Gaudens accepted the invitation in 1885, taking his family and three assistants, and returning each summer until purchasing a home and property in 1891. Within the next few years, influenced by the presence of Saint-Gaudens, other artists also began to look around Cornish for summer residences. Writer John H. Dryfhout said the "circle of friends" making up the Cornish art colony "was formed of painters, sculptors, decorators, illustrators, an architect, landscape designers, novelists, journalists, playwrights, poets, critics, essayists, composers, musicians, theatrical performers, and patrons of the arts" 1

President Theodore Roosevelt, en route to a hunting expedition, visited Cornish in 1902, by which time it was a well-established art colony. Some of the distinguished artist-residents of Cornish through the early decades of the twenti

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