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Sarah Freeman Clarke, Margaret Fuller & "Summer on the Lakes in 1843"

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Cape Ann Museum

27 Pleasant Street

Gloucester, MA 01930

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Presented by Katherine Manthorne
Professor of Modern Art and the Americas, Graduate Center, CUNY

Travel literature was booming in the Anglo-American literary world of the 1840s, with popular accounts carefully documenting locations in a linear, day-by-day narrative. In the summer of 1843 Sarah Freeman Clarke (1808–1896), a pioneering Boston-based artist, made a westward journey with her brother, the Unitarian minister James Freeman Clarke, and their close friend and trancendentalist, Margaret Fuller. The party traveled four months, by a variety of conveyance, to what was then “the West”: the Great Lakes and the territories of Wisconsin and Illinois with Clarke sketching and painting scenes along their route. Upon their return seven etchings after her travel sketches accompanied Margaret Fuller’s text in the publication Summer on the Lakes in 1843. Upon publication in 1844, the book resisted the dominant prescriptions for travel writing. It is better characterized as a compilation of prints, poems, anecdotes and self-reflections of their journey born of a complex melding of Transcendentalism, nascent Boston print culture and a concern with woman’s rights awakened by Fuller.



Katherine Manthorne is a scholar of American art with a passion for landscape and seascape art. Her books include Tropical Renaissance. North American Artists Exploring Latin America (1989); The Landscapes of Louis Rémy Mignot (1996); Luminist Horizons. The Art and Collection of James A. Suydam (2006); Frederic Edwin Church in Jamaica (2010); and Traveler Artists: Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection (2015). This presentation grows out of her interest on 19th century women who created important responses to American nature, soon to be published in her Eliza Pratt Greatorex and the Art Women in the Age of Promise. She has curated numerous exhibitions including California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820-1930, part of Getty’s 2017 Pacific Standard Time 2 and The Rockies & the Alps: Bierstadt, Calame & the Romance of the Mountains (Newark Museum, 2018). Formerly Director of Research at Smithsonian American Art Museum, she is currently Professor of Art History, Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Image: Sarah Freeman Clarke, "Arched Rock from the Water," illustration #6 from Summer on the Lakes.
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Cape Ann Museum

27 Pleasant Street

Gloucester, MA 01930

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