John Carleton Wiggins is known primarily as a landscapist who specialized in pastoral American Barbizon landscapes, usually with flocks of sheep or herds of cattle.
Carleton Wiggins, who preferred not to use his first name of John, was born in Turners (now Harriman), Orange County New York March 4, 1848. He attended public schools in Brooklyn. In 1870, Wiggins began his formal art studies at the National Academy of Design under George Inness (1825-1894), a noted American landscape painter and later with Johann Hermann Carmiencke (1810 - 1867) in Brooklyn.
In 1880, Wiggins studied plein-air painting in France under the influence of the Barbizon School, and exhibited in 1881 in the Paris Salon. He won a gold medal at the Paris Salon in 1894, and exhibited regularly at London's Royal Academy. He also studied in Holland.
His work was widely sought after upon his return to the United States. In New York, he maintained a studio in Greenwich Village, and was influenced by John H. Cocks, a sculptor turned landscapist, and a resident of Brooklyn.
The inspiration for his paintings often came from the countryside of Old Lyme, Connecticut, a natural setting for the art colony there, whose work reflected the influence of the French Barbizon painters. Carleton Wiggins was one of the original founders of the Old Lyme Art Colony, an early center of American Impressionism, and began an art school in that town. His work reflects the influence from his studies with George Inness with the use of subtle lights and shadows, warm colors, and soft edges. A critic once said "His pictures have atmosphere and repose."
Carlton Wiggins was elected as an Associate member of the National Academy in 1890 and made a full academician in 1906. He was the father and grandfather of painters Guy C. Wiggins (1883-1962) and Guy A. Wiggins (1921- ). Carleton Wiggins died June 12, 1932, in Old Lyme, Connecticut, which at the time was his permanent residence.
American Federation of the Arts
American Watercolor Society
Artists' Fund Society
Brooklyn Art Club
National Academy of Design
Society of American Artists
Society of American Landscape Painters
Chicago Art Institute
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
National Gallery of Art, NY
Newark Museum, New Jersey