Nelson Holbrook White


Nelson H. White was born in New London, Connecticut in 1932. White has been surrounded by art and artists from the time he was born. He received his earliest art instruction from his grandfather, Henry Cooke White (1861-1952)and his father Nelson Cooke White (1900 – 1989), both important American artists. The family lived in Waterford, Connecticut and the elder White had been an early member of the art colony in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Known for his painting of the Connecticut landscape and shoreline, Henry Cooke White became a teacher to his son, Nelson Cooke White. Living with his parents at the Florence Griswold house in Old Lyme, he met some of the most important and influential artists of the day, Childe Hassam, William Howe Foote and Harry Hoffman.

Later, Nelson White’s father began to take his family to summer on Shelter Island and became friendly with many of the artists in the Peconic colony such as Irving Wiles, an important American impressionist. After graduating from the Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts in 1951, Nelson H. White began to study at Mitchell College in Connecticut but left to pursue studies in the violin, musical theory and composition. At this time, he began studying art with his father and grandfather. By 1955, Nelson H. White had decided to devote himself to a career as a painter and traveled to Florence, Italy to become an apprentice to Pietro Annigoni, the world-renowned Florentine master. Within two years, the young White had won two awards for his work. While in Florence he also studied with the great Italian teacher, Nerina Simi. Today, White divides his time between the United States and Florence. White is still actively involved with studies at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy.

Although he has received instruction from some very important artists, Whites work is highly individual. He paints with great spirit. Upon seeing his work one quickly senses White’s great love for nature and the outdoors. Through his eyes we are able to view and interpret nature in an intimate manner. Whether Nelson H. White is painting the Connecticut shore, a beach in Italy, a pond on Shelter Island or the hills of Vermont, he allows the observer to view a soft, yet dramatic side of nature. His ability to use color, coupled with rich brush work and a graduation of light, air and atmosphere allows one to enjoy a certain mood which is clearly conveyed in White’s paintings. It is a mood that leaves us with a lasting impression.

White has shown his work in numerous galleries across the globe since the 1950s, from the United States all the way to Italy and Russia. White’s first museum retrospective was in the New Britain Museum of American Art in July 2012. His work can be found in many private and public collections, as well as several museums.

Nelson H White with striped bass
Nelson H White with striped bass
West Neck Creek Shelter zisland 18 x 32 in. oil 2015
Waterford Beach oil 18 x 27 in. 2013
The Red Umbrellas 18 x 32 oil 2013
Detail of The Poppy Field 9 x 16 in. oil 2011 (from catalogue)
4 x 9 in. oil 2010
Mashomack Point oil 20 x 48 in. 2010. (from catalogue)
Elide oil 25 x 19 in. 2017
Bagno La Salute 30 x 40 in. oil 2014
Waterford Marsh, c. 1980 oil 30 x 40 in.
The Yellow Umbrella 4 x 11 in. oil c. 2016
The Poppy Field 9 x 16 in. oil 2011 (from catalogue)
Telaro Italy, oil 9 x 16 in. 2009
Sara oil 16x24 in. 2007
Marginal Way 4 x 9 in. oil 2008
Celerina Switzerland April 2, 2019 9 x 16 in. Oil on board (from a snapshot)
Waterford Front Beach oil 16x 24 in.2018
The Wild Rose Bush 9 x 16 in. oil 2016
The Poppy Field 2008 oil 9 x 16 in. (from catalogue)
7 3/4 x 20 in. pastel 2002
Port of S. Tropez, France, Oct 29, 1981 Gouache
Haven oil 12 x 16 in. 2010
Bahamas 4 x 11 in. oil 2016

All paintings photographed by Ted Hendrickson

  • 2018 – Grenning Gallery – Group Show
  • 2017  Grenning Gallery, Solo Show
  • 2014  Grenning Gallery, Group Show, Summer Landscapes
  • 2013  Grenning Gallery, Group Show, Immerse Yourself
  • 2012  New Britain Museum of American Art, Scenic Spirit
  • 2011  Florence Academy of Art, Alumnae Exhibit & W. H. Patterson, London, The Summer Collection
  • 2010  Nelson H. White Solo Show, Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
  • 2009  W. H. Patterson Gallery, London, Florence Academy of Art Alumni Show & Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, Group Show
  • 2008  Centro Francescano Internationale, Massa, Italy, Group Show / W. H. Patterson Gallery, London, Florence Academy of Art Alumni Show / Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, CT, All Paintings Great and Small, Group Show
  • 2007  Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, Studio Selects / W. H. Patterson Gallery, London, Florence Academy of Art Alumni Show / Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, CT, All Paintings Great and Small, Group Show Brigham Gallery, Florence Academy of Art Alumni Exhibition, Nantucket, MA
  • 2006  W. H. Patterson Gallery, London, Florence Academy of Art Alumni Show / Brigham Gallery/Florence Academy of Art Alumni Show, Nantucket, MA
  • 2005  Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, Shifting Sands / Florence Academy of Art Alumni Show, Florence, Italy
  • 2005 –  2011  Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT, International Maritime Art Exhibition
  • 2004  Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, By the Sea, By the Lovely Sea
  • 2003  Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, Two person show with Urban Larsson / Hirschl and Adler Galleries, NYC / Panorama Museum, Germany, Realism Revisited,
  • 2002  Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, Local Landscapes & Unique Florals
  • 2001  Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, Sumptuous Still Lifes & Lush Landscapes / The New Masters Show General Electric Headquarters, Fairfield, CT / Museum of Maritime History, New London, CT, Whites of Waterford / Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT, Three Generations of Whites
  • 2000  Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, Solo Show
  • 1998-99  Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, Group Shows
  • 1997  Feathers Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 1992  Kolomenskoy Museum, Moscow, Russia
  • 1990 Hammer Gallery, New York, NY, Solo Show
  • 1985  Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT
  • 1964  Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, CT

1960-present Solo and Group shows at:

  • Lyme Art Association, Old Lyme, CT
  • Mystic Maritime Gallery, Mystic, CT
  • Valardi Gallery, La Spezia, Italy
  • Incontro Gallery, Cremona, Italy

" Unlike the other members of the great Connecticut dynasties of painters- the Weirs, Wigginses, Flaggs, and Moores- Nelson has ventured much farther afield and divides his time between Waterford, Connecticut, Shelter Island, New York, and Florence, Italy. For over 40 years, he has studied, painted, and lived in the Tuscan capital, and thus has been inspired by close proximity to the treasures of the Uffizi and the Palazzo Pitti. Nelson's appreciation for the great Italian masters of the past has been leavened with his admiration of Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988). Thus, his style represents an amalgamation of traditional training with the more intense, more innovative realism of Annigoni, and he is far more cosmopolitan and international."

Douglas K.S. Hyland, Retired Director of New Britain Museum of American Art
Additional information

Grenning Gallery

Fine Art Connoisseur

Nelson H. White: Scenic Spirit
Written by Peter Trippi

The Sag Harbor Express
Capturing the Summer on Canvas

In recollection of an elegant artist and man by Bethe Dufresne

View works by the Whites in the permanent collections of the following museums:
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT
Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, CT

Nelson H White at the helm of the "Tabor Boy", Tabor Academy
Nelson H White at the helm of the "Tabor Boy", Tabor Academy