Watch this page for current events happening at Chesterwood!
NEWS RELEASE / January 31, 2019
Chesterwood to Present New Exhibition at The Stockbridge Library
“Margaret French Cresson: Her Artistic Life and Legacy in Preserving Chesterwood”
will be on view March 1 – April 30
STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. (Jan. 31, 2019) – Chesterwood, the home, studio and gardens of sculptor Daniel Chester French, celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special exhibition recognizing French’s daughter, Margaret French Cresson (1889–1973) as an artist in her own right as well as honoring her dedication to preserving Chesterwood. “Margaret French Cresson: Her Artistic Life and Legacy in Preserving Chesterwood” will open at The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives, located at 46 Main St., on March 1 and run through April 30. There will be a free opening reception, Friday, March 1 from 5 to 7 p.m., sponsored by the Chesterwood Advisory Council. The exhibition has been generously sponsored, in part, by Owen Lewis and Susan Ennis, and Sohn Fine Art.
French, most well-known for his sculpture of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., divided his time between New York City and Stockbridge, where he and his family spent their summers starting in 1897. His only child Margaret enjoyed entertaining friends in the country and often sculpted alongside her father in his studio. After French and his wife, Mary, passed away, Margaret inherited Chesterwood, making it her full-time home in the 1950s. Passionate about keeping her father’s artistic legacy alive, she donated Chesterwood, with the exception of the Residence where she lived until her death in 1973, to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private, non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., which opened the property as a historic site to the public on June 9, 1969. After Cresson's death in 1973, the Residence and its contents became the property of the National Trust as well.
“Margaret French Cresson: Her Artistic Life and Legacy in Preserving Chesterwood” will feature historical photographs that illustrate Cresson’s life at Chesterwood: modeling for her father, socializing with friends and family, and creating sculpture in the studio, as well as photographs of her as the “keeper” of Chesterwood. The exhibition will also highlight her work as a sculptor through portrait reliefs, small bronzes, exhibition photographs and catalogues. Other personal objects, such as diaries, scrapbooks, writings, and ephemera will contribute to an understanding of Cresson’s life and her involvement in civic activities in Stockbridge and the Berkshires at large.
“Margaret French Cresson’s remarkable life as the daughter of a famous American artist was shaped by Chesterwood and the Berkshire community which she eventually called home. It seems only fitting as we celebrate the site’s 50th anniversary that we acknowledge her role in preserving Chesterwood as well as her own creative pursuits,” said Donna Hassler, Chesterwood’s executive director and co-curator of the exhibition.
This exhibition will include objects from the Chesterwood collections and the Chesterwood Archives, courtesy of the Chapin Library at Williams College. The exhibition has been co-curated by Hassler and Dana Pilson, curatorial researcher, both of Chesterwood, and Valerie Balint, program manager of Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios. Additional assistance was provided by Isabella Browne Lorcher, Chesterwood intern.
The following exhibition-related programming will take place at the Stockbridge Library and is free to the public. Check for additional programing or changes at www.chesterwood.org/calendar
· Friday, March 1, 5 p.m., exhibition opening reception with remarks by the curators
· Friday, March 8, 6 p.m., an illustrated lecture by Valerie Balint, “Keepers of the Flame: Women Behind Preserving Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios”
· Friday, April 5, 6 p.m., an illustrated lecture by Dana Pilson, “Margaret French Cresson: Growing up at Chesterwood, Her Life, Loves and Loss.”
NEWS RELEASE / December 4, 2018
Chesterwood Kicks Off 50th Season on Dec. 15 with Benefit Party and Book Launch of Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French
STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. (Dec. 4, 2018) – Chesterwood, the former summer home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost public sculptor Daniel Chester French, marks its 50th anniversary as an historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation with a kick-off holiday cocktail party in the residence on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 4 to 6 p.m.
This fundraising event will celebrate the launch of the acclaimed new biography of Daniel Chester French by distinguished Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, and will honor the patronage of Chesterwood Council Emeritus Jeannene T. Booher. Holzer will give remarks at the event and sign advance copies of his book, Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French, which will be available for sale. In collaboration with volunteers from the Berkshire Botanical Garden, the residence will be decorated for the holidays. Tickets to the benefit are $125 ($100 for members of Chesterwood) and books are $38 each ($34 for members of Chesterwood). For tickets and book reservations, call 413-298-2034 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holzer will also present a lecture and book signing on Tuesday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Tickets are $25 ($20 for members of Chesterwood). For tickets and book reservations, call 413-298-2034 or email email@example.com.
An exhibition on Abraham Lincoln organized by the Chapin Library at Williams College featuring highlights from Chesterwood’s archive collection will be on view at the Chapin Library from Feb. 11 to May 3; and an exhibition on the life and legacy of French’s daughter, Margaret French Cresson, will be on view at the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives from March 1 to April 30.
A summer garden party to celebrate Chesterwood’s 50th Anniversary will be held on Saturday, June 8 with a moveable feast, cocktails, live performances and art demonstrations from 4 to 7 p.m., followed the next day by a free community open house on Sunday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 9 marks the day 50 years ago when Chesterwood opened to the public as a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The studio, residence and gardens at Chesterwood will be open to the public for touring from Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Chesterwood is located at 4 Williamsville Rd., off Rte. 183, in Stockbridge. For more information, see chesterwood.org or call 413-298-2034.
Calendar at a glance:
Dec. 15: Kick-off benefit cocktail party in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Chesterwood as a National Trust Historic Site. The event will honor Chesterwood Council Emeritus patron Jeannene T. Booher and will feature remarks by Harold Holzer, Lincoln author and scholar, who will sign advance copies of his acclaimed new biography, Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French.
4 to 6 p.m., Tickets $125 ($100 members), books available for purchase at the event for $38 ($34 members). Reserve your ticket and book by contacting Chesterwood at 413-298-2034 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb. 11: Opening reception of the exhibition Abraham Lincoln: An American Icon, featuring highlights from the library’s National Trust for Historic Preservation/Chesterwood archives collection. Chapin Library, Williams College, 5 to 7 p.m. Williamstown, Mass.
March 1: Opening reception of the exhibition Margaret French Cresson: Her Artistic Life and Legacy in Preserving Chesterwood. The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives, 5 to 7 p.m. Stockbridge, Mass.
March 5: Official book launch of Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French by acclaimed Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, lecture, reception and book signing. Daniel Arts Center, Simon's Rock, 5:30 p.m. Tickets $25 ($20 members of Chesterwood). Reserve your ticket and book at 413-298-2034 or email@example.com. Great Barrington, Mass.
June 1: Benefit Celebration for the 50th Anniversary of Chesterwood as a National Trust Historic Site. 4 to 7 p.m. The studio garden at Chesterwood with a moveable feast, cocktails, live performances and art demonstrations. Stockbridge, Mass.
June 9: Free Community Day to celebrate the day Chesterwood opened to the public as a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1969. Tours, art activities and live performances. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stockbridge, Mass.
Aug. 8: Artist Biographies: A Conversation with Harold Holzer, author of Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French, and Dr. Thayer Tolles, Marcia F. Vilcek Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Edith Wharton’s The Mount, 11 a.m., fee charged. Lenox, Mass.
Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is the former summer home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). French is best known for his sculptures of the Minute Man (1871-75) and the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln (1911-22) for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Chesterwood is notably one of the earliest venues in the United States to showcase large-scale works in an outdoor setting. Since 1978, close to 600 emerging and established artists’ works have been exhibited at Chesterwood. Situated on 122 acres in the idyllic hamlet of Glendale near Stockbridge, MA, the property and its buildings were donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by French’s only child Margaret French Cresson (1889-1973). Chesterwood is recognized as both a National Historic Landmark and a Massachusetts Historic Landmark. For more information, visit chesterwood.org.
About the Berkshires
Less than three hours from New York City and Boston, the Berkshires offers culture and adventure year-round. The surrounding mountains provide plenty of opportunity for outdoor excursions in all seasons while world class culture and entertainment, along with a deeply rooted food culture and an array of lodging options amidst picturesque towns, set this region apart. For more information, visit berkshires.org.
NEWS RELEASE / AUGUST 15, 2018
Noted Authors Patricia Harris and David Lyon to Discuss Their New Book, Historic New England: A Tour of the Region's Top 100 National Landmarks, at Chesterwood on Sept. 15
Stockbridge, Mass. (Aug. 15, 2018) – Chesterwood, in collaboration with the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios Program, will present a free public lecture, discussion and book signing at Chesterwood on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. The lecture and visual presentation, “Genius loci: How New England Shaped its Artists and Writers”, will feature guest speakers Patricia Harris and David Lyon, authors of the recently released Historic New England: A Tour of the Region's Top 100 National Landmarks, published by Globe Pequot Press earlier this year. Books will be available for purchase at the event and light refreshments will be served. Due to limited seating, preregistration is recommended by contacting Valerie Balint at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-298-3579, x. 2033.
Harris and Lyon, who have authored more than 30 books on travel, food, and art, will read excerpts from their new guidebook and will use sites included within the book to discuss how the romanticism of New England’s natural landscape pervades American art and letters: from the publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay “Nature” in 1836 through the construction of Philip Johnson's Glass House in 1949. Some of the sites they will discuss include Daniel Chester French’s Chesterwood (Mass.), Herman Melville’s Arrowhead (Mass.), the Winslow Homer Studio (Maine), Robert Frost Farm (N.H.), Walden Pond (Mass.), and the Philip Johnson Glass House (Conn.). The presentation will place these sites within the context of the other National Historic Landmarks throughout New England. The six New England states have nearly 400 such places.
“As writers, we find it gratifying that so many homes and studios of artists, sculptors, architects, and writers are among our treasured landmarks,” said Lyon. “Chesterwood, a National Historic Landmark, is a touchstone of such creativity, and it is our pleasure to speak about the intersection of national values and creative spaces in such a magical place.”
“Historic New England grew out of our fascination with the incredible diversity of places that have been designated as National Historic Landmarks—the most elite category of historic designation,” said Harris. “The list was never conceived as a barometer of what we value as a people, but it turns out to deeply reflect our common values.”
For their publication, Harris and Lyon focused on tours of the 100 sites offering the most intriguing and rewarding history. In addition to historic houses and tall ships, Historic New England examines such quirky spots as the country's oldest weather stations, carousels, and sandy beaches. From Fairfield, Connecticut’s Birdcraft Sanctuary to the Windjammers of Rockland, Maine, the book holds appeal for the historical enthusiast, the armchair traveler, and both local visitors and tourists alike.
“We are thrilled to host David and Patricia at Chesterwood to discuss their new book. As the preserved home and studio of one of America’s most important monumental sculptors, Daniel Chester French – who was himself a native New Englander – we are excited to highlight the importance that arts and literature have historically played in this region and its links to national identity,” said Valerie Balint, program manager for Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios. “We are also looking forward to hearing about the numerous adventures the authors had while traveling to research this book.”
About the Authors
Patricia Harris and David Lyon are authors of more than 30 books on travel, food, and art including the Art of the Statevolumes on New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut for Harry N. Abrams. Harris previously directed funding programs in several disciplines for the Massachusetts Council on the Arts & Humanities, the predecessor to the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Lyon was one of the founders of Lynx House Press. They live in Cambridge, not far from the Longfellow House. For more information, see HungryTravelers.com.
Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is the former summer home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). French is best known for his sculptures of the Minute Man (1871-75) and the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln (1911-22) for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Situated on 122 acres in the idyllic hamlet of Glendale near Stockbridge, Mass., the property and its buildings were donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by French’s only child Margaret French Cresson (1889-1973). Chesterwood is recognized as both a National Historic Landmark and a Massachusetts Historic Landmark. Chesterwood serves as the administrative home for Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. chesterwood.org. 413-298-3579.
About Historic Artists’ Homes And Studios (HAHS)
HAHS is a professional network comprised of 40 preserved artists’ homes and studios throughout the country, now open as public sites. HAHS sites reflect the breadth and depth of art history in the United States – almost all representing art production before 1980. Members include sites dedicated to iconic American painters and sculptors, such as Frederic Church, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Jackson Pollock, as well as those drawing public attention to lesser-known artists such as Clementine Hunter and T.C. Steele. Holistic artistic environments in natural settings such as those created by Georgia O’Keeffe at Abiquiu are represented in the network, as are several important artists’ colonies such as The Florence Griswold home that served as creative hubs during their respective eras. HAHS sites own/display, and preserve/maintain for exhibition, significant artwork created by the artist(s) that lived there, and by their artist colleagues/predecessors, enabling connections between art and place. Collectively, HAHS sites draw more than 600,000 visitors annually to learn about the legacy of American Art. artistshomes.org
About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. SavingPlaces.org
Photos: Courtesy Patricia Harris and David Lyon
Saturday, Sept. 15: Lecture and book signing with Patricia Harris and David Lyon, authors of Historic New England: A Tour of the Region's Top 100 National Landmarks. Chesterwood, 4 Williamsville Rd., Stockbridge. Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited. Preregistration is recommended at email@example.com or 413-298-3579, x. 2033. Free. 2 to 4 p.m.