Tag Archives: Edith Wharton in the News

Edith Wharton in the News: Week of December 2, 2016

From Antiques and the Arts, http://www.antiquesandthearts.com/william-merritt-chase/

William Merritt Chase

PUBLISHED: NOVEMBER 29, 2016

In 1891, Chase established a studio in Shinnecock, Long Island, N.Y., and founded a summer art school there. This scene of his family poring over a portfolio of Japanese prints shows how work and play intertwined for the artist. “Hall at Shinnecock,” 1892. Pastel on canvas. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection.

By Jessica Skwire Routhier

BOSTON, MASS. — William Merritt Chase is remembered today not only as one of the great artists of his generation, but also as a gifted and engaging teacher, inspiring a generation of artists who would go on to establish America as an epicenter of Modernism in the Twentieth Century. As such, he is an essential bridge between that Modern era and the time when American art was still in its infancy. His career also encompasses a time of great change in American culture, best seen in his elegantly rendered, intellectually challenging and attention-getting portraits of women. Such portraits are a highlight of “William Merritt Chase,” organized by the Phillips Collection, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and the Terra Foundation for American Art, and on view at the MFA through January 16.

In Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel The House of Mirth, published while Chase was in the autumn of his career, a pivotal scene has the heroine, Lily Bart, participating in a tableau vivant. The term refers to a popular pastime of the turn of the century, in which participants posed in elaborate costumes and settings as living recreations of famous works of art. Lily, whose social standing is in jeopardy but whose beauty remains unrivaled, recreates a portrait by Joshua Reynolds, and Wharton’s elegant prose draws the reader into unguarded admiration. The scene is swathed in poetry and romance until its denouement, when Wharton’s omniscient narrator reveals the ugly way in which certain men in the audience have chosen to view her performance.

William Merritt Chase was also fond of tableaux vivants. In “Old Masters Meet New Women,” her insightful essay for the exhibition catalog, MFA curator Erica E. Hirshler writes that Chase used his studios in New York City and Long Island, N.Y., to stage recreations of paintings by the Old Masters he revered. As a rule, he did not literally depict such entertainments in his paintings and pastels, but a sense of theatricality is nevertheless strong throughout his body of work. His famed 10th Street Studio in New York City was a particularly theatrical place, a frequent setting for his painted portraits and interiors. Diane Paulus of the American Repertory Theater, who provides commentary for the MFA’s mobile guide, notes that Chase’s interiors are arranged like stage sets in order to highlight particular passages or moments of action.

[read the rest at the link above]

 

From the New York Times Book Review:

Consider, for example, the Dows clan of OUR TIME AT FOXHOLLOW FARM: A Hudson Valley Family Remembered (Excelsior/State University of New York, $50) and the 800-acre Rhinebeck estate they intended to be “a sort of Mount Vernon on the Hudson.” The patriarch, Tracy Dows, was an avid amateur photographer, and David Byars’s book is based on the 26 private albums, dating from 1903 to the 1930s, that Dows’s daughter donated to Hudson River Heritage. There are plenty of views of the pillared mansion and its outbuildings (including the guesthouse where Thomas Wolfe wrote “Look Homeward, Angel”) as well as the elaborate spreads of pals like the Astors, who had a vaulted, Corinthian-columned indoor swimming pool, and the Dinsmores, whose guests could play golf on their nine-hole course. The text is filled with the era’s boldface names — Edith Wharton, Charles Dana Gibson, the Olmsted brothers, Alice Roosevelt Longworth — and the family’s travels took them to the era’s favorite high-end locales: the “cottages” of Newport; the exclusive resorts of Hot Springs, Va., and Jekyll Island, Ga.; the Beatrix-Farrand-designed gardens of Seal Harbor, Me. But in between the lines of the captions are stories waiting to be told.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/01/books/review/country-living-our-time-at-foxhollow-farm-david-byars.html

Wharton in the News: From The Guardian (1936): Lillian Gish on portraying Charlotte in the stage version of The Old Maid

http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/the-northerner/2014/mar/17/lillian-gish-theatre-review-silent-films

Lillian Gish

Edith Wharton’s novel “The Old Maid” is to be seen at the Opera House in the hands of a remarkably good cast. The play ended last night with long-continued applause, which had the effect of bringing back repeatedly the two great characters, Lillian Gish and Carol Goodner.

It is easy to be suspicious of chronicle plays which begin in the 1830s and end in the 1850s, particularly when they deal with old maids. The old maids who know everything are a nuisance, the ones who know nothing are worse. But here we have no type but a collection of human beings, having substance and feeling, in one of those situations with which Edith Wharton proved it is not necessary to have melodrama or murder to awake sensibility and make tragedy visible. The storm can rise as well in a teacup as elsewhere.

. . .

Miss Gish played her part with extraordinary skill, moving by the gentlest accretions from the ardent girl of the first act to the tortured, frightened woman preparing for her daughter’s wedding and shaken by her secret. Those who have tears to shed in the theatre could scarcely withhold them for her piteous state at the ending of this play.

Edith Wharton in the News: Robert Armitage’s Blog at the New York Public Library

Edith Wharton, A Writing Life: Marriage by Robert Armitage, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Gen. Research Division

 

Edith (Newbold Jones) Wharton, 1862, Digital ID 102809 , New York Public LibraryIn a writer’s life, nothing is ever wasted. Every wrinkle in the fabric of experience can be transformed into fictional material. Although there is nothing directly autobiographical in the novels and stories of American novelist Edith Wharton (born Edith Jones), they reflect very distinctly both the shape of her life and the movements of her thought. In my previous postabout her childhood, I left off with an unresolved question, one which would have been deeply troubling to Lucretia Jones, Edith’s mother:

What’s to be done with a young woman stricken with a misguided appetite for reading books and an even more unhealthy aspiration to write them?

The answer, of course, is to marry her off as soon as possible. [read the rest at this link.]

Edith Wharton in the News: The Age of Innocence Opera and Lectures in NYC on 11.17.2013

Selected scenes from The Age of Innocence will be performed on Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 3pm at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, 120 W. 69th Street in New York City. Admission is free. For more information on the opera and this performance, please visit: http://davidowencarpenter.com/the-age-of-innocence/

Lectures:

From David Carpenter:
The Age of Innocence: A Composer’s View on Adapting the Novel for the Operatic Stage

I first became acquainted with The Age of Innocence in the mid-1990s, when I saw the wonderful film adaptation of the novel by Martin Scorsese. Soon after that, I read the novel and was completely captivated by this story of suppressed emotion and thwarted love. At that time, I had been composing music for about nine years (having begun when I was fourteen), and even then I thought of what a wonderful opera the novel would make. I knew, however, that it would take several years before I had the experience as a composer to tackle the daunting task of adapting Wharton’s masterpiece into an opera. It was in 2009, when I was nearing the end of my doctoral studies in music composition at Temple University in Philadelphia, that I had to decide on a subject for my dissertation—for someone getting a degree in music composition, this would be a major musical work. For me, it had to be Age. Continue reading