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Chesterwood – The Daniel Chester French Studio Museum

April 19th, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Daniel Chester FrenchCome explore Chesterwood, the summer home, studio, and gardens of one of America’s most celebrated sculptors, Daniel Chester French. Many of the artist’s most famous public monuments were modeled right here at his Berkshires estate.

Not sure who Daniel Chester French (1850-1931) is? Just picture the statue of seated Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, DC. You may also be familiar with the Minute Man statue in Concord, MA. Or maybe Alma Mater at Columbia University, NY – or any of his many other public works.

While the famous sculptor spent the rest of his year in busy New York City, French relished his summers in the Berkshires.

Chesterwood is located just west of Stockbridge, MA – less than 13 minutes from our Berkshires Bed and breakfast, Applegate Inn. The estate was designed by the sculptor himself, with the help of his friend, architect Henry Bacon, with whom he also created the Lincoln Memorial. Well-known ornithologist, William Brewster also lent a hand.

French and his family summered here from 1897 until 1931, considering it a personal paradise.

After his death, his daughter, Margaret French Cresson (1889–1973), managed the estate and helped it transition into the historic site it is today. The 122 acre estate now serves as a popular museum and sculpture garden, hosting numerous events and programs throughout the year.

Visiting Chesterwood

Chesterwood studio

The Studio at Chesterwood – photo: Paul Rocheleau

There are a number of reasons to visit Chesterwood but the one of the foremost is to learn about the famous sculptor’s life and view his works.

Daniel Chester French: Sculpting an American Vision is a permanent exhibit highlighting the work of French. Hundreds of the sculptor’s study models and finished works are on view in the artist’s Studio and Barn Gallery.

But French is not the only artist on-site. Special activities and programs are hosted throughout the season, with the grounds serving as an outdoor exhibit for contemporary sculpture.

Beyond the art, the Chesterwood estate, itself, is also very much worth your attention. The grounds include a woodland walk laid out by French himself, panoramic views of Monument Mountain, a lovely country garden, and much more. All imbued with the kind of care and tiny detail you’d expect from a master sculptor.

Chesterwood

4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA 01262

Visit the Chesterwood website for more details. You can also follow the museum on Facebook.

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