George M. Bruestle ~ Native Ground

Cooley Gallery

Jan. 1, 2023 - Aug. 13, 2011

25 Lyme Street
Old Lyme, Connecticut 6371

Sometimes intimate in scale and mood and at other times sweeping in their breadth, the always vibrant paintings of George M. Bruestle have long been associated with the pastoral landscape scenery of Lyme, Connecticut. Born to German immigrants in New York City in 1871, Bruestle studied art first in New York and then in Paris. His initial sojourn to Connecticut brought him to Essex in 1886, and he was in Hadlyme by 1900, thus establishing him as an early member of the Old Lyme Art Colony. In 1905 he bought a summer home in the Hamburg section of Lyme. Although he continued to maintain a residence in Manhattan, and was an active member of numerous New York City art associations—the Society of American Artists, the National Arts Club, Allied Artists of America, the Salmagundi Club, and the Lotos Club—his signature work was inspired by the rural topography of the Connecticut River Valley.

Bruestle’s work suggests myriad influences, from the art of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875), to the rich palette of French Impressionism and the gestural and graphically dramatic painting of early 20th century American realism. What unifies these various strains is Bruestle’s consistent fascination with farms, roads, hillsides, rocky croppings and weathered architecture, and the sensuous and richly expressive paint application he employed to sculpt the light-struck forms of his favorite bucolic settings. Over time the artist’s sensitive naturalism, reminiscent of the French Barbizon school, evolved into a broader and more dynamic compositional manner. The later paintings feature a freshness of color suggestive of work done en plein air, while demonstrating a selection of motifs that may well have been perfected in the studio. In this show each of these strains can be fully appreciated.

Bruestle exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Corcoran Gallery, Lyme Art Association, National Academy of Design, Paris Salon of 1895, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His works are represented in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Butler Institute of American Art, the Florence Griswold Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art. He died in 1939 in New Haven, Connecticut.

This exhibition will be at the gallery through August 13th, along with “One by One,” an exhibition and sale of monoprints and variable editions by Lisa Barsumian.

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