Wintry Washington Square Wonderfully Captured by Artist Guy Carleton Wiggins

Stroll in Washington Square, 1950
Washington Square in Winter – 1920ish?

Artist Guy C. Wiggins portrayed snowy Washington Square in numerous paintings. I love the portrait of the elegant lady in red with the dog, Stroll in Washington Square, which was sold at Sotheby’s in 2001 and is said to be from 1950. The park scene at bottom, Washington Square in Winter, is on display at the Richmond Art Museum and was completed around 1920.

The Richmond Art Museum description says:

Son of artist Carlton Wiggins, Guy Wiggins is most noted for his snowy New York scenes and landscapes in the area of the Impressionist colony of Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Wiggins studied with other noted artists of the Old Lyme Colony who were developing their own style of impressionism – combining the French traditions and emerging American technique. In 1937, Wiggins established his own art school in the nearby town of Essex. Wiggins’ work is included in many collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, National Gallery of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wiggins had an exhibition of his works in Richmond in 1921. He painted Washington Square in Winter specifically for this exhibition and was pleased that it was purchased by the museum. Richmond Art Museum’s archives contain original correspondence with the artist.

Wiggins lived from 1883-1962. His son, Guy Arthur Wiggins, is now in his ’90s, and, according to an article in the New York Times on the family of painters, works out of a studio on nearby West 4th Street.

From the 2011 New York Times piece:

[Guy Carleton Wiggins] snowy scenes of landmarks like City Hall and Washington Square Park, where he later kept a studio, became signature works. “If you want to sell paintings,” Mr. Wiggins said, “it helps if it’s recognizable to many people.”

In 1912, not yet 30, Guy Carleton became one of the youngest artists to have a work purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which bought his “Metropolitan Tower.” A painting of the Executive Mansion that he executed on the White House lawn hung in President Dwight Eisenhower’s office for a time.

“Before the Depression, every maître d’ in town knew him,” his son said. Once the Great Depression hit, though, “Dad couldn’t sell a painting.”

Guy Carleton moved his family to a farmhouse in Lyme, Conn., not far from where his own father had helped found the Old Lyme Art Colony, and opened the Guy Wiggins Art School.

View thumbnail shots of more of Guy Carleton Wiggins’ work here.

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