During the last decades of the nineteenth century, the picturesque hamlet of Matunuck, Rhode Island, emerged as an art colony, rooted more in its location than in a unified style of painting. Artists ranging from the marine painter William Trost Richards to the impressionist Philip Leslie Hale were introduced to Matunuck by family members and were inspired by the unique beauty of their surroundings.
Landscape painters Philip, Ellen and Susan Hale, Caroline Atkinson, William Trost Richards, Anna Brewster, Eleanor Price and Frank Mathewson – whose work you will see in this exhibition – span generations, artistic styles and schools of painting. What binds them is the inspiration they found in Matunuck and the landscape they were drawn to. Each of these painters interpreted the Matunuck landscape in a personal way, yet among them they encompass most of the major trends defining American painting of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—Barbizon School, impressionism, post-impressionism, tonalism and plein-air painting—as well as the creation of the era’s predominant artistic institution: a summer school.