Unknown (Persian, Safavid, Shiraz), Majnun in the wilderness, surrounded by animals (from a Khamsa of Nizami manuscript), ca. 1560, opaque watercolor on paper, heightened with gold, Bequest of Mrs. Horace W. Frost. (91.15.58)._x1200

2010 Judith M. Lenett Lecture by Bree Lehman at the Williams College Museum of Art

For immediate release: April 19, 2010

On Wednesday, May 5, Bree Lehman will deliver the 2010 Judith M. Lenett Lecture, “Monsieur Robert Was Here: An Émigré’s Portraits and Patrons in the Hudson River Valley.” This lecture will take place at the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) at 5:30 pm. A reception will follow. This event is free and open to the public.

Lehman is the recipient of this year’s Judith M. Lenett Memorial Fellowship. She has spent the past year conserving two oil paintings by a French artist known only as “Monsieur Robert.” The portraits are of Robert Sands (1745–1825) and his wife, Phebe Carmen Rutsen Sands (1747–1819), members of the Sands family who settled along Landsman’s Kill in Rhinebeck, New York. Currently on view at WCMA from May 1 through May 16, 2010, these portraits and other related material are in the collection of the Wilderstein Historic Site in Rhinebeck, New York. This exhibition was organized by Lehman.

Monsieur Robert was reportedly in the United States as a refugee, having fled persecution during the French Revolution. Described as “a man of family and… of fortune,” Robert’s extensive training as an amateur artist enabled him to develop a career as a professional portraitist. In addition to the portraits of Robert Sands and Phebe Carmen Rutsen Sands, pastel portraits of Sarah Rutsen Schuyler and her husband, Philip Jeremiah Schuyler, will also be on view. Now in the collection of the Wilderstein Historic Site, these portraits are part of the largest known group of works by Monsieur Robert. From 1852 to 1991, Wilderstein served as the countryseat of the Suckley family. The Suckleys were related to both the Sands and Schuyler families via a complex network of intermarriages that at one time knit together most of the Hudson Valley’s land-owning elite.

Bree Lehman is the 2010 Lenett Fellow, as well as a Graduate Student in the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, Class of 2010. The Judith M. Lenett Memorial Fund was established by the family and friends of the late Ms. Lenett, a candidate for the M.A. degree, Class of 1983, to provide lectures and seminars in American art and its conservation. The Lenett Fellowship, awarded annually to a second-year graduate student with an interest in conservation and American art, is jointly administered by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, and The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein Historic Site is open for house tours May to October, Thursday through Sunday, from noon until 4:00 pm (last tour begins at 3:30 pm).  Wilderstein is also open for tours Thanksgiving weekend and December weekends. Admission – $10 adults, $9 students & seniors, children under 12 free. For more information, please visit www.wilderstein.org.