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Go West During Free Lecture at the Clark on December 10

For Immediate Release

November 21, 2006

“Purple Mountain Majesties and Manifest Destinies: Bierstadt and the American West,” a free lecture, will be held on Sunday, December 10 at 2 pm in connection with the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s exhibition Alpine Views: Alexandre Calame and the Swiss Landscape. Danielle Steinmann, assistant curator of education, will explore how American painters in the 19th century took the European landscape traditions of artists like Alexandre Calame and translated them in a way that came to embody the social and political landscape of the United States. The lecture is free and concludes the “Mighty Mountains and Verdant Valleys” series.

In this lecture, Steinmann will explore how images of the West in the 19th century characterized the United States. In their paintings, artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran created images that defined the American frontier and instilled Easterners with a sense of national pride. This pride helped to support the United States’ mission of Manifest Destiny, to spread democracy and progress through the untamed wilderness to the Pacific Ocean. With it also came the need to protect some of its natural beauty, giving rise to the preservation movement and the National Park system.

Rugged and stunning landscapes of the Swiss Alps, never before the subject of an exhibition in the United States, are on view during Alpine Views. The exhibition brings together 26 sensuous paintings and sketches by Calame, and places them in the context of the 19th-century landscape tradition. His works are shown alongside 27 of those of his contemporaries offering a rare opportunity to explore the development of the often-overlooked yet significant Swiss school of landscape painting. Alpine Views is on view through December 31.

All works included in Alpine Views are from the collection of Asbjorn R. Lunde. The exhibition is sponsored by Toblerone.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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