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September 9, 2003

Historic Paintings on Display at  William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in partnership with the William Benton Museum of Art at the University of Connecticut in Storrs will participate in the opening of the Harry Leith-Ross Exhibit on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. The exhibit, entitled, A Pennsylvania Artist in the Forests of Connecticut, showcases ten Harry Leith-Ross paintings, commissioned by Connecticut Forestry Department in 1934. This exhibition is part of the centennial celebration of the first State Forest in Connecticut.

Arthur J. Rocque, Jr., Commissioner of the DEP and Philip E. Austin, President of the University of Connecticut will ceremoniously unveil the paintings, which have been hanging in DEP field offices for many years. In May, 2003, the Michener Museum in New Hope, Pennsylvania contacted the DEP to inquire about paintings depicting forestry scenes that Connecticut had commissioned of Harry Leith-Ross many years ago. The museum is planning an exhibit of Pennsylvania Impressionists and wanted to include the Connecticut paintings in the exhibit. The DEP learned that in 1934, Connecticut State Forester, Austin Hawes, commissioned 10 paintings from Harry Leith-Ross.

The scenes were painted in northwestern Connecticut in the vicinity of New Hartford. The paintings were never displayed in one place, but were on view at various field locations throughout Connecticut. After the inquiry from the Michener Museum, the paintings were collected and turned over to the William Benton Museum at the University of Connecticut in Storrs for safekeeping. This exhibition tells the story of the artist and of the paintings.

The paintings will be on display through Sunday, October 5, 2003. The museum is open Tuesday – Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. – 4:40 p.m. Admission is free.

The names and description of the paintings are as follows:

The Log Team 30 x 40 oil on canvas
The Saw (3 framed together) Each is 8.25 x 10 oil
The Big Spring Road  32 x 40 oil
The River Road  30 x 40 oil on canvas
In The Deep Woods 12 x 15.75 oil on board
In The Hemlock Woods 8 x 10.5 on board
Snow Patches With Forest  8 x 10 oil on board
Tractor & Saw 18 x 24 oil on canvas


The frames for the paintings were made by a skilled woodworker from the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s.

Harry Leith-Ross (1886-1973) studied at many of the world’s most select and prestigious art institutions of his day including the Academie Julian in France and the Art Students League located in Woodstock, New York. Leith-Ross worked primarily in oils and watercolors and won prizes for many of his works. He conducted classes in landscape painting in Woodstock and in Rockport and Gloucester, Massachusetts. In 1935 he took residence in New Hope, Pennsylvania and converted a barn into a formal artist’s studio. In this barn he produced many of his compositions including landscape paintings of his home and the areas around New Hope and the Delaware River. In 1956, he wrote 'The Landscape Painter’s Manual'.

Directions to the William Benton Museum of Art:

From Hartford, CT, take I-84 east to exit 68 and follow Rte. 195 south for 6.5 miles to the UConn campus. Turn right onto North Eagleville Road and take a quick left onto Glenbrook Road. The Benton is on the left.

From Norwich and New London, CT, take Rte.32 north to Willimantic, then Rte. 195 north to the UConn campus. Turn left onto North Eagleville Road and take a quick left onto Glenbrook Road. The Benton is on the left.

Parking is available on N. Eagleville Road, a metered lot on Glenbrook Road, and in the two parking garages on Hillside Avenue, at the end of Glenbrook Road.




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