Lecture at National Arts Club to Feature Daniel Chester French and HAHS

Chesterwood Musuem, Stockbridge, MA - the summer home and studio of Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial (Washington, D.C.)

Chesterwood, in collaboration with The National Arts Club Roundtable, and the Historic Artists' Homes and Studios Program will present the third annual Daniel Chester French Lecture at The National Arts Club (NAC), 15 Gramercy Park South, New York City, on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. The lecture and visual presentation, “City and Country: Daniel Chester French and Studio Life”, will feature guest speaker Dr. Karen Zukowski, an independent art historian and member of the NAC.  

Admission is free of charge, but seating is limited to advance registration is suggested.  A reception with cash bar will be held from 5 to 6 p.m.  Preregister by contacting Lisa Reynolds at lreynolds@savingplaces.org  or 413-298-3579, x2034.

As a sculptor of monumental, figural works, Daniel Chester French needed little more than a large workroom with clay, plaster and the model. Yet, in both the city and the country he established gracious, well-furnished studio homes where he conducted his busy professional and social schedules. And French was not alone. Many American artists created dual lives for themselves in their city and country studios.

This lecture will examine French and other artists that maintained multiple studios, including those that survive as part of the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios (HAHS) program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a coalition of more than 30 museums that were the homes and working studios of American artists. 

“We are delighted to present the third in our annual Daniel Chester French lecture series at The National Arts Club,” said Donna Hassler, executive director of Chesterwood. “The series features distinguished scholars who have been invited to speak about French’s artistic and social life, particularly as it relates to New York City, shedding new light on his prominent career as the  ‘Dean of American Sculpture’.  Every October French moved from Chesterwood, his summer home and studio in Stockbridge, to New York for six months of the year, where he was very involved in the art world during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”

 This lecture has been generously underwritten by Doyle Auctioneers and Appraisers, the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Chesterwood Advisory Council.

Karen Zukowski has been on the HAHS Advisory Council since its inception. Her PhD is on late 19th-century American artists’ studios, and she was the curator of Olana, a HAHS site, and is now on its board. As an independent writer she publishes on artists’ studios and domestic environments. As a consultant she wrote the “Furnishings Investigation for 101 Spring Street”, Donald Judd’s home and a HAHS site; and she serves on the collections committee for Manitoga, another HAHS site.

Photo: Daniel Chester French with Greek Epic Poetry in his New York Studio, 125 West 11th Street, ca. 1907. Chapin Library, Williams College, Gift of the National Trust for Historic Preservation /Chesterwood, a National Trust Historic Site, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, NT 73.45.13.31