The Newport Art Museum is pleased to present “Newport: The City as a Work of Art” Lecture Series with Architectural Historian John R. Tschirch. The series of lectures will take place at the Newport Art Museum on four consecutive Tuesday evenings beginning Tuesday, October 26 and ending November 16. Attendees can subscribe to the full series, or register for individual lectures. Subscribers and ticket holders will also have access to virtual livestreams and lecture recordings. Each lecture will be followed by Q&A with John Tschirch, sale and book signing of Newport: The Artful City, and refreshments on the Museum porch. Masks must be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status. Series subscriptions are $80, or $60 for Museum Members, and individual lecture tickets are $20, or $15 for Museum Members. More information, subscriptions, and tickets are available at newportartmuseum.org/events.
Writers and artists through the ages have created a portrait of Newport through poetry, prose, paint and photographs. They have both recorded and reimagined the city in fact and in fiction, in the process leaving both a historical record and a body of work contributing to making Newport a mythic place. This series of illustrated lectures is based on John Tschirch’s recent book, Newport: The Artful City, which examines the buildings, landscapes and historic districts through the eyes of renowned authors, painters, photographers and illustrators who were inspired by Newport, using its places and people as characters in their own works.
Lecture I:Landmarks: Great Sites as the Illustrator’s Dream and the Writer’s Muse
Tuesday, October 26, 6:00 pm
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Emma Lazarus mythologized the time-worn sites of Newport in their poetry and the illustrators of Harper’s Magazine featured places of interest for that new “breed of person,” the Victorian sightseer. All of these artists secured the city’s reputation as a historic place to be explored and venerated.
Lecture II: Arcadia: Rocky Coves and Wooded Groves
Tuesday, November 2, 6:00 pm
The natural features of Newport’s landscape have inspired writers from Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry James to Kurt Vonnegut, all of whom explored the emotional journeys of their characters against the backdrop of cliffs, coves, meadows and orchards. Artists such as John Frederick Kensett, William Trost Richards and Christo and Jean Claude explored the light and natural formations of Newport’s coast and countryside, interpreting these in their own way for their own age.
Lecture III: Oldport: The Romancing the Colonial City
Tuesday, November 9, 6:00 pm
While the Industrial Revolution sped along at full force in the mid-19th century, the colonial districts of Newport appeared to be lost in time, until discovered and celebrated by artists such as the writer Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who used it as the setting for his fictional city of Oldport, and architect Charles McKim, who commissioned an extraordinary series of photographs of the 18th century architecture of the Point, Historic Hill and Thames Street.
Lecture IV:The Nine Cities: Newport Layer by Layer
Tuesday, November 16, 6:00 pm
By the early 20th century, Newport presented a complex, many layered urban scene. Colonial, Victorian and Gilded Age buildings made up a remarkable architectural heritage. The impressionist painter Childe Hassam immortalized 18th century buildings, the pioneering photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston captured Gilded Age houses, and the writer Thornton Wilder used the city’s many layers, which he referred to as the “Nine Cities” to craft a heroic, and often-times comic and tragic, journey through Newport.
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