October 30, 2021 – January 23, 2022
This exhibition presents the work of Mary Way (1769–1833) and Elizabeth Way Champlain (1771–1825), pioneering sisters from New London, Connecticut who expanded gender roles for women and pushed the boundaries of portrait miniatures as an artform. They were among the earliest independent women artists working in the United States, producing watercolor miniatures and unique “dressed” paper portraits with fabric clothing between 1790 and 1825.
Telling a story of struggle, innovation, and accomplishment, The Way Sisters: Miniaturists of the Early Republic explores the art of portrait miniatures and the role of portraiture in the days long before selfies, focusing on two remarkable, understudied women artists and their sitters. Organized by the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, this is the first museum exhibition to focus on the work of the Way sisters, with new scholarship and many objects that have never been exhibited to the public.
For questions or comments, please contact curator Tanya Pohrt: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 860.443.2545 x2126
Attributed to Mary Way, Dressed Miniature Portraits of a husband and wife of the Deshon family, ca. 1800, mixed media with fabrics and painted paper. Gift of Ursula & Gertrude Grosvenor, 1949.122 a & b.