Evelyn Nef, April 28

Arctic Explorer and Author Evelyn Nef to Speak at the Clark Art Institute April 28

For Immediate Release

April 19, 2002

Writer, Alaska expert, psychotherapist, art collector, and philanthropist Evelyn Stefansson Nef will speak at the Clark Art Institute on Sunday, April 28, at 2:00 p.m. In the program "Finding My Way: Adventures in Arctic Exploration," Nef will discuss her travels in a "conversation" moderated by Brian Allen, co-curator of the Clark's current exhibition Arctic Diary: Paintings and Photographs by William Bradford. Admission is free.

Nef, who lives in Washington, DC, and has a home in Great Barrington, was married to the late Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, with whom she worked and traveled for more than twenty years. Her book Here is Alaska, first published in 1943, sold hundreds of thousands of copies and remained in print for forty years. She is also the author of Within the Circle and Here is the Far North. Her autobiography, Finding My Way: The Autobiography of an Optimist, will be published by Francis Press next month. In 1991, to refresh her Arctic memories in preparation for her autobiography, Nef traveled to the North Pole on a Soviet nuclear powered icebreaker.

In her long and varied career, Nef has been librarian of the Stefansson Polar Library in New York and a free lance writer for the New York Times Book Review and the Washington Post. At the age of 60 she returned to school to become a psychotherapist and had her own private practice in Georgetown from 1976 to 1994. She is a member of the Washington Academy of Sciences and is on the Board of the National Symphony, the Opera Board, and the MacDowell Colony.

The program is offered in connection with the exhibition Arctic Diary, which features the work of American artist William Bradford (1823-1892). Bradford, an important Luminist painter, made nine trips to the Arctic Circle, which inspired his paintings of icebergs, glaciers, ships, and frigid seascapes. In 1869 he documented his journey with 141 albumen photographs published in the travelogue The Arctic Regions: Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition to Greenland. The exhibition, on view through May 5, 2002, features fifty photographs from the album, as well as oil paintings by Bradford and a group of pencil, charcoal, and oil sketches.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit

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