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Alpine Views: Alexandre Calame and the Swiss Landscape Opening Lecture by Guest Curator October 8 at the Clark

For Immediate Release

September 21, 2006

Rugged and stunning landscapes of the Swiss Alps, never before the subject of an exhibition in the United States, will be on view during Alpine Views: Alexandre Calame and the Swiss Landscape beginning Sunday, October 8 at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The opening lecture, “Currents and Cross-Currents in Swiss Alpine Painting” by guest curator Alberto de Andrés, of Lausanne, Switzerland, will be held at 2 pm. De Andrés, an expert on 19th-century Swiss painting will introduce the artist Calame and several of his contemporaries, all of whom specialized in picturesque views of the Alps during a period of geologic investigation, interest in the sublime, increased Alpine tourism, and growth of national identity.

The opening lecture is the first in the “Mighty Mountains and Verdant Valleys” free series of Sunday afternoon talks. Held at 2 pm, the series topics are “More Than Yodeling and Chocolate: A Brief History of Swiss Painting” with curator of education Michael Cassin on October 22; “’An Agreeable Kind of Horror’: Mountains, Caves, and the Painterly Sublime” with associate director of the Research and Academic Program Mark Ledbury on November 12; and “Purple Mountain Majesties and Manifest Destinies: Bierstadt and the American West” with assistant curator of education Danielle Steinmann on December 10.

Other special events surrounding Alpine Views and the Swiss culture this fall include a fun family program, chocolate-themed culinary contest, and Clint Eastwood film.

Enjoy a day of chocolate and cinema on Sunday, October 29. At 2 pm catch a free showing of the action thriller The Eiger Sanction, staring Clint Eastwood as an art history professor/international assassin sent to the Alps in search of a Russian killer. Following the film, local celebrity chefs’ talents will be put to the test with a cooking contest featuring Toblerone chocolate.

A variety of alpine amusements at the Clark bring the mountains and merriment of Switzerland to the Berkshires during the Swiss Bliss Family Day on Thursday, December 28 from 11 am to 3 pm. Most activities are free.

Calame (1810-1864) was the leading artist of the Swiss school of alpine painting. Despite a childhood disability that left him lame in one leg, Calame traveled throughout Europe, and even more impressively, climbed the Alps on summer painting excursions. He took his first trip to study the Alps in 1835 in the region of Bernese Oberland, famous for spectacular mountains and valleys, and returned almost every summer to study in the magnificent vistas of the famous mountains. Calame’s paintings of the Swiss landscape are remarkably naturalistic depictions of lakes, high peaks, and rushing waterfalls.

Alpine Views brings together 26 sensuous paintings and sketches by Calame, and places them in the context of the 19th-century landscape tradition. His works are shown alongside 27 of those of his contemporaries offering a rare opportunity to explore the development of the often-overlooked yet significant Swiss school of landscape painting. Alpine Views is on view through December 31, 2006.

All works included in Alpine Views are from the collection of Asbjorn R. Lunde. The accompanying catalogue, published by the Clark and distributed by Yale University Press, reproduces many of these works for the first time in color. The exhibition is sponsored by Toblerone.

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 $10 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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