NEWPORT, R.I. – James Yarnall, a leading authority on John La Farge and associate professor in Salve Regina’s department of art, will give an illustrated presentation on La Farge’s travel writings on Tuesday, March 8, at 4 p.m.
Yarnall’s talk, free and open to the public, will be presented in the Munroe Special Collections Room in McKillop Library, Ochre Point Avenue. A reception will follow his presentation.
La Farge, today better known for his stained-glass masterpieces, was also a painter, muralist decorative artist and writer. During the summer of 1886, at the age of 51, La Farge accepted an invitation from an old friend – the famous historian Henry Adams – to tour Japan for several months.
A second trip with Adams was a 15-month tour of the South Seas, including Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Fiji, Indonesia and Ceylon. These trips set in motion ambitious illustrated travelogues that in various forms occupied the artist for the next decade.
An offshoot of this travelogue activity was a large exhibition titled “Records of Travel,” a one-man show held in Paris as part of the Salon of 1895. Afterwards, La Farge circulated the exhibit to various American cities, and as a result of this widespread exposure, sales of his travel pictures skyrocketed. Until his death in 1910, La Farge’s travelogue writings and exotic images remained an important part of his artistic identity.
Yarnall has published dozens of articles and four monographs on La Farge. He has just completed the first biography of the artist in 100 years, “John La Farge, A Biographical and Critical Study,” which is scheduled for release in early 2012 by Ashgate Press.