Beneath the Surface:
A Master Painter Examines the Clark's
Nymphs and Satyr

Sunday, March 11, 2012
3:00 pm

William Bouguereau's Nymphs and Satyr, the largest painting in the Clark collection, has just been cleaned by Tom Branchick, Director of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC), and will be on view at Stone Hill Center for one weekend only.

In honor of the newly cleaned Bouguereau, the Clark presents a special free lecture by artist Graydon Parrish. This lecture is located in the Clark Auditorium (Manton Research Center). The painting will be on view at Stone Hill Center.

The last quarter of the nineteenth century witnessed a complete codification of the painter’s craft. The process of creating a picture was not only systematic, but its continued rehearsal from the initial sketch (or croquis) to under-painting (or ébauche) to the finished work, reminded the painter of his training, his role in art history, and his reputation among his peers and collectors. An artist's technique was indivisible from his integrity, influence, and commerce. Few artists have become as synonymous with technique as William Bouguereau. His name has been both praised and derided because of this, and yoked with the word "academic," itself a term of pride and scorn. Yet despite Bouguereau's skill and troubles with his reputation, his approach was workaday and straightforward, calm and steady.

In his lecture, Parrish will explore Bouguereau’s deliberate métier—specifically how he created one of his masterworks, Nymphs and Satyr. Parrish will touch on the milieu of the art student and the outlook of the French Academy, as well as outline each stage of the painter’s art, from pencil to presentation. He will discuss Bouguereau’s explicit, glass-like finish, and explore how Bouguereau’s reputation among living painters will bring into focus new ideas on technique and communication in the art landscape today.

Graydon Parrish is an artist interested in contemporary figuration and the revival of historic painting practices. He received his MFA from the New York Academy of Art and his BA from Amherst College. His own work is found in the New Britain Museum of Art, the Mead Art Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, and the Austin Museum of Art. He has presented lectures at these institutions as well as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Joseloff Galley at the University of Hartford. He also teaches advanced color theory at the Grand Central Academy of Art.