An exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, running from June 22 through October 19, 2008, will be the first to explore “painting softly,” a distinctive and unexamined approach to painting exemplified in works by James McNeill Whistler and George Inness.
Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly brings together forty paintings by leading American artists working around 1900, including Whistler, Inness, William Merritt Chase, John Twachtman, Eduard Steichen, and others, to examine this style of painting through which artists obscured their brush strokes.
Generally thought of as an era of virtuosic brushwork-where touch and surface were nearly as important as the subject being painted-the exhibition will trace a quieter approach to painting that evolved during this period.
“The Clark is engaged in providing new ways to look at well-known artists,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “This exhibition invites a re-examination of the work of America’s leading artists at the turn of the twentieth century in which the artists challenged the very nature of making art and by removing themselves as intermediaries between the work and the viewer.”
The exhibition will open with a community open house, and opening lecture, “Like Breath on Glass: The Hard Work of Painting Softly,” on June 22. Other lectures include “Night in the City: Whistler, Fireworks, and Dancing Girls” on August 10, “Higher Forms of Truth: The Late Works of George Inness” on August 24, and “In Praise of Shadows” on September 7. The “Vision of the Gilded Age: Film Adaptations of Henry James and Edith Wharton” film series will be held on selected Saturdays in July and August. “Listening to Mr. Whistler,” a special event co-hosted by the Williamstown Theatre Festival, will be held August 4.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November 1 through May 31. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.