“Shhh! You must be quiet!", 2007

Illustrating CT


Robbin Zella

Illustrating Connecticut: People, Places, and Things explores the history and culture of Connecticut, highlighting the art of illustrators, many of whom presently live and work in the state.

Connecticut has long been called "home" by artists drawn to its proximity to New York City. A strong contingent in Westport and Weston has allowed for the development of such collections as the Sanford B. D. Low Illustration Collection at the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Westport Historical Society, and the Westport Library, the latter two with illustration collections on continuous view.

Illustrating Connecticut: People, Places, and Things features works by Randall Enos, Murray Tinkelman, Kathy Jakobsen, Guy Billout, Nancy White Cassidy, Merle Nacht, Mark Hess, Wendell Minor, Bob Kessel, Blaine Kruger, Miggs Burroughs, Bernie Fuchs, Lonni Sue Johnson, Leslie Cober-Gentry, Hal Mayforth, Kinuko Craft, Robert Crawford, Brian Cronin, Thomas G. Fowler, Ross MacDonald, Walter O.R. Korder, Garrett Price, Etienne Delessert, Christopher Passehl, Jeff Seaver, Bill Thomson, John Dykes, and Barry Moser. These artists capture the many facets of Connecticut, spotlighting the history of its agricultural origins, the role that its inventions played in the Civil War and the winning of the American West, the significance of its military contributions in developing helicopters and submarines, and its leadership in forming a national identity through a shared language. The quintessential New England town green serves as an icon of civic pride while the First Constitution (Fundamental Orders) hidden in the Charter Oak stands as a symbol of the independence and resolve of its people. Also enduring is the image of the Yankee Peddler selling products produced here: buttons, pins, needles, clocks, and nutmeg.

These works are powerful narratives that offer an accounting of extraordinary sacrifice and outrageous fortune, of conspirators and heroes, and of objects brilliantly conceived and borne through perseverance and sheer determination. On the following pages you will be (re)acquainted with Native American Samson Occom, a founder of Dartmouth College, the infamous defector and spy Benedict Arnold who led the British attack on New London, and humorist Mark Twain and his gifts to the literary arts. Connecticut boasts many "firsts:" Jupiter Hammond who in 1760 was the first African-American writer to be published, the Old State House, Hartford, which was the first state house in America, and the first American cookbook that was published in Hartford in 1796. I hope that you will enjoy these beautiful, delightful, and more often than not, witty illustrations that make (re)learning about Connecticut's rich and varied history not just interesting, but fun!

Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, deputy director and chief curator at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., will present an illustrated talk on the national influence and contributions of the “Golden Age Illustrators” at the Burt Chernow Gallery at the Housatonic Museum of Art on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 12:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. More...

Here are some links to Connecticut web sites for more information.

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