“A Conversation with Julie McCarthy, Artist-in-Residence”, Saturday, August 2

News Release

Chesterwood to Present “A Conversation with Julie McCarthy, Artist-in-Residence” on Saturday, August 2

Stockbridge, Mass. (July 25, 2014) – Chesterwood will host “A Conversation with Julie McCarthy, Artist-in-Residence” on Saturday, August 2 at 5 p.m. The talk is presented in conjunction with the exhibition “An Oasis of Beauty” featuring the work of Berkshire photographer Julie McCarthy. Prior to the program, guests are invited to view the exhibition in the residence at Chesterwood from 4 to 5 p.m. A reception with the artist will be held after the talk. Light refreshments will be served. The program is free and open to the public. For reservations, email lreynolds@savingplaces.org or call (413) 298-3579, x25210. Chesterwood is located at 4 Williamsville Rd., off Rt. 183, in the Stockbridge hamlet of Glendale.

“An Oasis of Beauty: Photographs by Julie McCarthy, Artist-in-Residence”, focuses on the possessions and surroundings of Margaret “Peggy” French Cresson, the only child of famed sculptor Daniel Chester French. Margaret, born in 1889, was an author and accomplished portrait sculptor in her own right. She lived at Chesterwood in the summer months from the time she was a little girl until her death in 1973.

“Artists have a way of looking at the world that is different from ours,” said Executive Director Donna Hassler. “Julie was interested in learning more about Margaret’s life at Chesterwood and her detailed photographs and photomontages capture Margaret’s sense of decorum and style in the place she called ‘home’ for many years.”

The title of the exhibition alludes to both the natural beauty of the Chesterwood estate, named “an oasis of beauty” by French, and to his daughter’s personal flair for art and beauty.

“She adored beautiful clothes and bright colors and decorated her surroundings, particularly her bedroom, in various shades of ladylike pink. She entertained frequently and by all accounts loved a good party. People loved her,” McCarthy said.

“There are layers of beauty to Margaret. She grew up in an era when people were very private. She had a public face and a private face,” McCarthy noted. “At first I was frustrated because I couldn’t get beyond the first layer. Once Margaret and I came to terms, I came away with a true respect for her. She carved out her own career as a sculptor. She suffered tragedies. Hers was to embrace the positive and the love of her father’s work and legacy.”

In 1968, Margaret French Cresson ceded Chesterwood and its collections (with the exception of the residence to which she retained life rights) to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Had it not been for her efforts, Chesterwood would not have been preserved for future generations.

“A Conversation with Julie McCarthy, Artist-in-Residence”is supported in part by a grant from the Stockbridge Cultural Council, a state agency. The exhibition “An Oasis of Beauty” is supported in part by Sohn Fine Art Gallery and Giclée Printing.

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Daniel Chester French Sculptures (Flickr)

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