People here in the Upper Valley call them "Maxfield Parrish skies"--the sunset hour when the towering cumulus clouds over the Connecticut River take on an almost iridescent orange glow. As a member of the famed Cornish Art Colony founded by the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Maxfield Parrish made his creative home on the banks of the Connecticut River and his paintings are a direct reflection of the area landscape. Two towns separated by the largest wooden covered bridge in the US--Cornish, NH and Windsor, VT--were the playground, retreat, and inspiration for a host of musicians, writers, painters, and sculptors who spent summers creating individually and coming together as a group for festival-like performances.
American Presidents, actors, and famed architects contributed to the Cornish Art Colony which thrived in the bucolic landscape rising from the base of the river valley to the peak of Mt. Ascutney. The Colony's revelry spread along the historic district of Windsor's Main street to the hills across the river where Augusts Saint-Gaudens built a large studio. The former home of famed literary editor Maxwell Perkins and his wife Louise Saunders was in the Evarts/Perkins extended family for almost 195 years and located on Main Street in Windsor. Members of the Cornish Art Colony themselves, they were also hosts to gatherings and meetings in the home that has now become Snapdragon Inn.
The Cornish Art Colony slowly dispersed after the death of Saint-Gaudens, but his studio and estate are preserved as a National Historic Site. The Snapdragon Inn remains as a location that captures the creative history and creative rebirth of the Upper Valley and provides a connection to the Cornish Art Colony's amazing legacy.
In a new video series entitled Reborn, Snapdragon Inn connects a new generation of viewers to the work of artists who visit the inn or who live in the area of the Cornish Art Colony. The project allows the former home of Maxell Perkins to again become a meeting and gathering place for sharing creative ideas. Each episode focuses on one artist and many include live performances. Artists discuss their inspired connections, the landscape of Vermont and New Hampshire, their fellow artists working in the hills and villages along the river, and even those same "Maxfield Parrish" skies.
"The Reborn series is an ongoing project," said Nathan Larson--who is one of the founding partners and General Manager of Snapdragon Inn. "Our family took a lot of care in preserving not just the structure at 26 Main Street but also the purpose of this special place. For us, it is a creative space and a place that we hope inspires others to relax, create, and connect. We have been lucky to capture some great moments in the series so far and look forward to sharing even more. The artistic talent in our community is amazing and we are hoping to shine a little more light on it."
The full Reborn series is available by visiting http://snapdragoninn.com/videos/ which also includes bonus performances and outtakes.
Artists Associated With Cornish Colony:
- Adeline Pond Adams, poet and art historian
- Herbert Adams, sculptor
- Ethel Barrymore, actress
- George de Forest Brush, painter
- Winston Churchill, American novelist
- Kenyon Cox, painter and muralist
- Thomas Dewing, painter
- Marie Dressler, actress
- Isadora Duncan, dancer
- Barry Faulkner, muralist and mosaicist
- Daniel Chester French, sculptor
- Henry Brown Fuller, painter
- Learned Hand, judge
- Percy MacKaye, dramatist
- Paul Manship, sculptor
- Maxfield Parrish, painter and muralist
- Stephen Parrish, painter and etcher
- Maxwell Perkins, editor
- Charles A. Platt, architect and garden designer
- Edith Prellwitz, painter
- Henry Prellwitz, painter
- Frederic Remington, painter, sculptor and author
- Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculptor
- Louis St. Gaudens, sculptor and Augustus Saint-Gaudens' brother
- Everett Shinn, painter and illustrator
- Florence Scovel Shinn, illustrator and writer
- Ellen Biddle Shipman, landscape architect
- Bessie Potter Vonnoh, sculptor
- Robert Vonnoh, painter
- Woodrow Wilson, American president
- William Zorach, sculptor