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Marc Simpson to Speak on Inness April 3

For Immediate Release

March 15, 2005

Marc Simpson, the Clark's curator of American art, will pose the question "Why Study George Inness?" in a public lecture at the Clark on Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m.  The lecture is free and open to the public.

The lecture complements the current exhibition, A Walk in the Country: Inness and the Berkshires, on view through April 17.  The exhibition of 15 paintings marks the first time the Berkshire subjects of the prominent 19th-century artist have been examined together.  Photographs, letters, and other historical papers relating to Inness's Berkshire circle are reproduced in the exhibition.

Simpson is also associate director and lecturer in the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. Clark audiences know him for his popular 1997 exhibition Uncanny Spectacle: The Public Career of the Young John Singer Sargent. Simpson received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1993. His particular area of interest is American art from 1860 to 1930.  Recently published essays focus on the work of James McNeill Whistler, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer.

Inness (1825-1894) was born in Newburgh, NY, and spent his early years in Newark, NJ.   His first major supporter was Odgen Haggerty, who had a large summer home in Lenox, MA. Other well-known patrons included famed minister and orator Henry Ward Beecher, Samuel Gray Ward, and novelist Catherine Sedgwick.

Inspired by the Berkshire landscape in the summer and fall, Inness idealized the scenes in his paintings to emphasize timelessness and emotional resonance over realistic representation.  Because Inness employed a Berkshire theme at different points in his career, the exhibition traces the development of the artist's style. His early works drew inspiration from the old masters, while others look to the French artists of the Barbizon school. Inness's later works are strongly influenced by philosophical theories of his time, especially the teachings of Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg.

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

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