Visions of a Gilded Age Film Series at the Clark

For Immediate Release

July 01, 2008

Out of the same era and milieu as the American artists featured in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s summer exhibition Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly, the novels of Henry James and Edith Wharton have elicited a wide range of film adaptations. A free film series, “Visions of a Gilded Age: Film Adaptations of Henry James and Edith Wharton,” will take place at the Clark on Saturdays, from July 12 through August 23, at 2 pm.

July 12: The Heiress (1949, 115 min., not rated)

William Wyler directs this adaptation of Henry James’s Washington Square. Olivia de Havilland won an Oscar for her portrayal of the beset daughter of domineering father Ralph Richardson, who fends off her fortune-seeking suitor Montgomery Clift.

July 19: The Innocents (1961, 85 min., not rated)

Deborah Kerr stars in Jack Clayton’s atmospheric and chilling adaptation of the James novella The Turn of the Screw as the governess on a country estate. The children in her care are haunted by ghosts, or is she the one succumbing to evil visions?

July 26: The Bostonians (1984, 120 min., PG)

Vanessa Redgrave and Christopher Reeve lead a distinguished cast in this adaptation of the James novel, set amongst the women’s suffrage movement in 19th century New England.

August 2: Portrait of a Lady (1996, 142 min., PG-13)

Jane Campion directs Nicole Kidman as the James heroine Isabel Archer, a spirited and independent American woman abroad, who falls under the sway of worldly Europeans Barbara Hershey and John Malkovich.

August 9: The Golden Bowl (2000, 130 min., R)

Merchant Ivory takes a sumptuous look at James’s final novel, about a wealthy American played by Nick Nolte who is collecting art in Europe with a plan to build a museum back home. His young wife Uma Thurman becomes entangled with the marriage of his daughter Kate Beckinsale.

August 16: The Age of Innocence (1993, 138 min., PG)

Martin Scorsese’s direction dazzles in this adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel about New York society in the 1870s. Proper lawyer Daniel Day Lewis is engaged to Winona Ryder, but can barely resist the charms of the scandalous Michelle Pfeiffer.

August 23: The House of Mirth (2000, 140 min., PG-13)

In Terence Davies’s stark but sensitive adaptation of the Wharton novel, Gillian Armstrong is the precarious social climber trying to make her way into New York society at the mercy of ruthless characters like Dan Ackroyd and Laura Linney.

 Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly featuresforty beautiful paintings by James McNeill Whistler, George Inness, and other American artists working around 1900 in an examination the art of painting softly. As Whistler once stated, “Paint should not be applied thick. It should be like breath on the surface of a pane of glass.” The result of this counsel is a body of contemplative and meditative paintings that, like the mist of breath’s condensation on glass, appear on the canvas without evidence of the artist’s hand. Like Breath on Glass is on view through October 19.

 The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. The galleries are open daily in July and August from 10 am to 5 pm (closed Mondays September through June). 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.

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