GUY CARLETON WIGGINS
"WINTER, WASHINGTON SQ."
oil on canvas, 25 x 30 1⁄4 inches,
signed lower right "Guy Wiggins NA," signed and titled on the reverse
Mystic Fine Arts, October 6, 1994, lot 152A; Private Collection, Connecticut.
Guy C. Wiggins is one of the most iconic New York City Impressionist painters. His snowy scenes of the city have captured audiences since the 1920s. Wiggins was a successful and prolific artist. He operated an art school in Old Lyme, Connecticut and divided his time between there and New York City.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1883, Wiggins started his formal training in architecture. By 1919, however, he had transferred to the National Academy of Design to study painting under the tutelage of William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. Henri encouraged his students to look to the streets of Manhattan for subjects from everyday life. Wiggins, remembering his early architectural training, took to cityscapes and depicting New York City’s famous architecture. He quickly established a national reputation and by age 20 his work was included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Wiggins’ father, Carleton Wiggins, was a painter in the Barbizon style. The Wiggins family would spend their summers in Old Lyme and, in 1915, the family relocated there permanently. Carleton became an active member of the Old Lyme Art Association, however, his style remained predominantly tonalist. Guy, on the other hand, learned from the artists in Old Lyme. He absorbed their style of Impressionism, employing a bright color palette and American painting techniques.
Wiggins was an active member of the National Academy of Design, elected a full academician in 1919. He exhibited regularly with the Old Lyme artists and earned prizes for his work from the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the Salmagundi Club and the Art Club of Philadelphia. In 1917, he won the prestigious Norman Wait Harris Bronze Medal from the Art Institute of Chicago.
Throughout his life Wiggins would continue to paint scenes of New York City as a favored subject. In late 1930s and 40s he maintained a studio in New York overlooking Washington Square Park. The present canvas is a quality example of one of his Washington Square paintings with bright white snow and bustling pedestrians.