The work of three generations of Wiggins painters was recently on view at the Salmagundi Club, including our own beautiful John Carleton Wiggins painting titled Twilight in the Catskills, which sold during the course of the exhibition. John Carleton Wiggins was the first Wiggins to take up the paint brush professionally and become the patriarch of a great American aesthetic family. Having studied under Johann Carmiencke and George Inness, John Carleton’s roots were firmly planted in the Hudson River School, but his work shows the tonal influence of Inness’s soft brushwork and delicate glazes.
This influence can clearly be seen in Twilight in the Catskills in which he fills the canvas with the soft glow of cool lavender light as it radiates from the horizon. The composition is kept simple with the painting’s delicate light playing the central role. He incorporates a shepherd peripherally as a witness to the daily miracle of twilight as it plays over the Hudson River Valley.
John Carleton’s son Guy Carleton Wiggins followed in his father’s footsteps, but set the Hudson River School aside in order to take up the mantle of American Impressionism. Guy moved his family to a farmhouse in Old Lyme, CT, a well-known haven for some of the greatest American Impressionists, including Willard Metcalf, Childe Hassam, and Clark Greenwood Voorhees. His stunning paintings of Manhattan swept in a frenzy of snow are iconic images of the city.
Guy’s son, Guy Arthur Wiggins, continues the family tradition to this day, painting landscapes and still lifes that are incuded in several museum collections.
Although the exhibit has now closed, you can still read the wonderful review of the show that appeared in the New York Times on June 6, 2011: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/07/nyregion/the-wiggins-family-of-painters-is-having-a-moment.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=wiggins&st=cse