From a career in a firearms factory and part-time bookseller, painter Dwight William Tryon would rise to a life of remarkable artistic and professional achievement.
He had demonstrated ability at a young age, but was given no formal training. While working to support his mother, Tryon would enjoy painting and sketching excursions along the shores of the Connecticut River near his home. At this time he developed his own unique style, using the effects of light and atmosphere in his marine and landscape paintings.
By 1876 he was able to sell his works for a large sum, and headed to France, along with his wife, to study art at the Ecole des Beaux Art. They travelled widely while in Europe, including to the village of Barbizon, where Tryon worked with Charles Francois Daubigny.
He returned to the United States and immediately won the patronage of several art collectors, including Charles Lang Freer and Thomas B. Clarks. This enabled Tryon to build a summer studio in Massachusetts. Additionally, he began teaching at Smith College in 1885 and would remain there until 1923, serving as the Director of the Art School for twenty years.
Around the mid-1890s his style began to evolve away from the darker, Tonalist palette of his earlier works and instead became lighter. He also began to work with pastels more than his traditional oil paints at this time.
In addition to actively creating art, Tryon was a strong advocate of the American Aesthetic movement which emphasized the importance of experiencing original works of art, and donated one hundred thousand dollars to Smith College for an art gallery.
His works are in the collections of more than two dozen museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.