Schooled by the precision demanded of woodcarving and sculpture, painter Walter Griffin would eventually create a unique style of painting and pastel work from his Academic, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist experiences.
Born to a woodcarver in Portland, Maine, Griffin's enthusiasm towards portraiture and figure drawing would inspire him to enter the newly established School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1878. In 1882 he headed to New York to study at the National Academy of Design under Lemuel Wilmarth, who encouraged his award-winning student to head to Paris in order to complete his education. He enrolled at the Academie Julian, but soon relocated to the countryside of the Barbizon painters. It was during this period that Griffin also encountered Impressionism, which made an immediate influence on his work.
He returned to America in 1897, where he became the director of the School of the Society of Art in Hartford, Connecticut and where he soon discovered the Impressionist colony residing in Old Lyme along the state's coast. By 1905 he was a resident of the colony, and a close friend of Childe Hassam. His work transformed rapidly during this period, and his oil and pastel painting styles displayed mosaic-like qualities in their use of Impressionistic brushwork.
Griffin would travel Europe and New England, becoming a member of the National Academy in 1912, and reaching his mature, individual style around 1915. A visit to France in 1926 introduced the final alteration to his work, as he met Matisse and found the light of the Riviera region more suitable to his style.
He was a medal winner at the historic Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, and a key figure at the Portland Museum in Maine. His works are in the collections of many important museums, including the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut.