Clark Visiting Professor Rethinks “Luminism” on October 28

For Immediate Release

October 14, 2008

Alan Wallach will present the fall 2008 Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor Lecture “Rethinking Luminism” on Tuesday, October 28, at 5:30 pm, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Wallach is the Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art and Art History and a professor of American Studies at the College of William and Mary, and the fall 2008 Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor at Williams College. This free lecture is sponsored by the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

Since the 1960s, critics and historians of American art have employed the term “luminism” to describe a style of landscape painting that first appeared in the 1850s and that emphasized subtle lighting effects, aerial perspective, and transparent surfaces. While scholars have defined luminism in stylistic terms, contrasting the small, quiet canvases of such artists as John Kensett and Martin Johnson Heade with the outsize Hudson River School productions of Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt, they have failed to explain why this new type of landscape painting developed in the 1850s and 1860s—decades in which the Hudson River School dominated the American art scene. Wallach will give a historical account of luminism by examining the social, cultural, and institutional contexts in which it arose.

The Clark is one of the country’s foremost art museums, as well as a dynamic center for research and higher education in art history and criticism. The institute is one of only a few art museums in the U.S. that is also a major research and academic center, with an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia, and an important art research library. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation’s leading M.A. programs in art history, which has been part of the professional development of a significant number of directors of art museums, curators, and scholars.

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 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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