News Release: Concord Museum Exhibit, From the Minuteman to the Lincoln Memorial

Media Contacts:

Kimberly Rawson, Communications Consultant, Chesterwood, a Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, krawson@savingplaces.org and 413.445.4467

Emer McCourt, Concord Museum, emccourt@concordmuseum.org and 978.369.9763, ext. 211

 Chesterwood, a Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation,

Announces Lecture by Renowned Art Historian Dr. Wanda M. Corn

at the Concord Museum on Sunday, March 2

The talk, Artists’ Homes and Studios as Archive and Romance, will be offered in conjunction with the exhibition From the Minute Man to the Lincoln Memorial: The Timeless Sculpture of Daniel Chester French, presented by the Concord Museum in collaboration with Chesterwood

Stockbridge, Mass. – Donna Hassler, executive director of Chesterwood, a Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, announced today that renowned art historian Dr. Wanda M. Corn will present a lecture, titled Artists’ Homes and Studios as Archive and Romance, on Sunday, March 2 at 1 p.m. at the Concord Museum in Concord, Mass. Following the lecture, Dr. Corn will lead a special tour of Daniel Chester French’s Concord home and studio, which are privately owned and rarely seen by the public. Reservations are required for both the 1 p.m. lecture and the 3 p.m. tour and may be made at www.concordmuseum.org or by calling (978) 369-9763, ext. 216.

The program accompanies the exhibition From the Minute Man to the Lincoln Memorial: The Timeless Sculpture of Daniel Chester French (on view at the Concord Museum through March 23), presented as a collaboration between the Concord Museum and Chesterwood.

Dr. Corn’s lecture will explore the national movement to preserve fine artist’s homes and studios and what we can learn from these extraordinary places in which amazing works of art were created. She will address the creative process, the artistic impulse, and the nature of inspiration for artists, including French. Dr. Corn is a scholar of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American art and photography and is the Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History at Stanford University. She has produced numerous books and exhibitions, including The Art of Andrew Wyeth (l973), Grant Wood: The Regionalist Vision (1983), and Seeing Gertrude Stein, Five Stories (2011-12), and is active as a visiting curator and scholar.

 

From the Minute Man to the Lincoln Memorial: The Timeless Sculpture of Daniel Chester French focuses on two of French’s most inspirational “homes” — Concord, where he interacted with some of the leading figures of the day, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Alcott family; and Chesterwood, his summer residence and studio in Stockbridge, where he welcomed family and friends and created many of his most important commissions.

 

In late 2012, the Chesterwood studio closed for rehabilitation, allowing objects housed there to travel beyond Stockbridge for the first time. Chesterwood loaned 57 artworks to the exhibit, as well as materials related to French as a sculptor. (The Chesterwood studio will reopen to the public in May.)

“This is is the first major showcase of French’s sculpture since 1976, outside of Chesterwood. I encourage people from the Berkshires to visit the Concord Museum to see this exhibition before it closes on March 23. It offers tremendous insight about French as an artist, from his early days in Concord to the mature artist who lived and worked at Chesterwood,” Hassler said.

French, America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, is best known for his sculptures of two icons of American history: the Minute Man (1871-75) in Concord and the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln (1911-12) for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, which marked the culmination of French’s significant career. French completed over 100 memorials and monuments during his productive career in Concord and later in New York City and Stockbridge. The exhibition features studies and models related to French’s masterpiece, the seated Abraham Lincoln, and includes some rarely displayed objects from his Chesterwood studio that highlight the role that Concord played in French’s life and career.

 

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Concord Minute Man of 1775, bronze (1889–90), commissioned by the Town of Concord and given to the gunboat Concord; props used by French in the design of the statue; French’s sketchbook with studies for the Minute Man; and letters relating to the Minute Man commission and dedication
  • Busts of Emerson, including versions in plaster (1879), bronze (ca. 1879), and marble (1879–83) showing French’s interpretation of his subject in different media
  • Seated Abraham Lincoln, bronze (1927), one of a handful of versions of the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln cast during French’s lifetime; plaster casts of French’s hands used in the design of the seated figure; and the plaster life mask of Lincoln, recast after Leonard Volk and used in the development of the design of the Seated Lincoln
  • A partial recreation of a corner of French’s Concord studio, incorporating surviving furnishings and rich photographic evidence
  • French’s tools for creating sculpture, including tools for modeling plaster and clay; his tools for carving marble; and related equipment from Chesterwood

 

French’s major works remain on permanent exhibition in 21 states as well as in France. Boston area works include the John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard, the Clark and Melvin Memorials, the Joseph Hooker equestrian, and the George Robert White Memorial in Boston’s Public Garden.

The exhibition is accompanied by a rich offering of programs, including a walking tour of Concord’s Daniel Chester French Trail, created by the Concord Museum, which provides a helpful gateway for exploring the various historic sites and resources in Concord related to the renowned sculptor.

Concord Museum is where all of Concord’s remarkable past is brought to life through an inspiring collection of historical, literary and decorative arts treasures. Renowned for the 1775 Revere lantern and Henry Thoreau’s Walden desk, the Concord Museum is home to a nationally significant collection of American decorative arts, including clocks, furniture and silver.  Founded in 1886, the Museum is a gateway to historic Concord, Mass., for visitors from around the world and a vital cultural resource for the town and the region. For more information, visit www.concordmuseum.org.

Chesterwood, a Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is the summer home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). Situated on 122 acres in the idyllic hamlet of Glendale near Stockbridge, Mass., the property and its buildings were donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by French’s only child, Margaret French Cresson (1889-1973). Chesterwood is recognized as both a National Historic Landmark and a Massachusetts Historic Landmark. For more information about the largest collection in the country of Daniel Chester French’s sculpture, paintings, and drawings visit www.chesterwood.org.

 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. Visit www.PreservationNation.org.

 

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Daniel Chester French Sculptures (Flickr)

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