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Experts to Discuss Like Breath on Glass Exhibition at the Clark October 18

For Immediate Release

October 02, 2008

The exhibition Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly, on view at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, explores a painting sensibility found in select works by James McNeill Whistler, George Inness, and other important American artists active around 1900. The paintings in the exhibition share a relative lack of virtuosic brushwork, favor indistinct forms, and suggest a palpable atmosphere. A daylong public symposium, Painting Softly, on Saturday, October 18, will bring together leading scholars, conservators, and artists to assess this notion of painting that can appear “like breath on glass.” This symposium is free and open to the public; advance registration is recommended. Visit www.clarkart.edu for more information and to register.

The Painting Softly symposium will begin with coffee and an introduction at 9 am. Twenty-minute talks followed by short, moderated discussions will begin at 9:30 am. Serving as moderators will be Michael Leja, University of Pennsylvania; Kenneth J. Myers, Detroit Institute of Arts; Marc Simpson, Williams College and the Clark; Alan Wallach, College of William and Mary; and Margaret Werth, University of Delaware. A reception will follow and gallery hours will be extended until 7 pm. Like Breath on Glass closes on Sunday, October 19.

Speakers and topics include:

  • Joyce Hill Stoner, University of Delaware and Winterthur Museum, “Whistler’s Labor-Intensive Evanescence”
  • Anna Gruetzner Robins, University of Reading, “Whistler’s British Followers: Painting in the Industrial Age”
  • Fronia E. Wissman, independent scholar, “Corot and the Softness of Nostalgia”
  • Rachael Z. DeLue, Princeton University, “George Inness and Paintings that Whisper”
  • Veerle Thielemans, Musée d’Art Américain Giverny, “Le milieu intérieur de l’homme: Artistic Agency and Memory in the 1860s”
  • Sarah Burns, Indiana University, “Mist or Miasma? Purity, Danger, and Decoration in the Art of Thomas Wilmer Dewing”
  • Kathleen Pyne, University of Notre Dame, “On Silence and Surfaces in Steichen’s Painting and Photography”
  • Marc Gotlieb, Williams College, “Redon, Carrière, and the Limits of Experience”
  • Rainer Judd, independent filmmaker and photographer, “Real Breath on Glass: Softness in My Photography”
  • Stephen Hannock, independent painter, “Like Breath on Polished Canvas”

The symposium is supported by a grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art. The exhibition Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly was organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and is supported in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and by a contribution from Mr. and Mrs. Frank Martucci.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 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 through May. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.


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