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In the Galleries: New Lyman Allyn exhibit explores Mystic’s iconic seaside identity

Now open to the public, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum’s exhibition “Picturing Mystic: Views of the Connecticut Shoreline, 1890-1950,” focuses on artistic depictions of the historic waterfronts and landscapes of Mystic, Noank and Stonington.

At the turn of the 20th century, a time when art colonies were also formed at Cos Cob and Lyme, Mystic emerged as a vibrant summer art colony. Artists gathered there to paint, inspired by the beauty of the Mystic River, the area’s rolling hills, historic architecture, and its coastal fishing and shipbuilding history.

This exhibition, which runs through Sept. 4, features the art of Mystic, Noank, Mason’s Island and Stonington, with more than 60 landscapes dating from 1890 to 1950. It focuses on the area’s history as an art colony, with Charles H. Davis at the group’s founding center.

Davis moved to Mystic in 1891 and was soon followed by other artists, including Reynolds Beal and Henry Ward Ranger.

Artists taught summer classes in Mystic and established the Mystic Art Association in 1913, exhibiting as a group the following year.

Artists painted many regional scenes and landscapes, but some locations held particular appeal. Masons Island, located at the mouth of the Mystic River, was a favorite place to paint, as were Noank’s docks. North Dock in particular, with its weathered buildings and fishing boats, was “admired and painted by hundreds of artists,” noted The New London Day in 1938.

The exhibition showcases art from the Lyman Allyn’s permanent collection and from the collection of Jonathan C. Sproul of Mystic, and it includes many pieces that have not previously been exhibited to the public.

“We think this will be a great exhibition for local residents and visitors to the region throughout the summer,” said Tanya Pohrt, the museum’s curator. “The works of art reveal how artists helped shape Mystic’s identity as an iconic seaside destination.”

A conversation with the collector is planned from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 14.

For more information call (860) 443-2545 or visit


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