Photographer Annie Leibovitz and Vogue Celebrate Wharton and The Mount in September 2012 Issue

Wharton’s starry, intellectual circle included, from left, her niece, Beatrix Farrand (actress Mamie Gummer); James; diplomat Walter Berry (writer Junot Díaz); Fullerton; architect Ogden Codman, Jr. (writer Jonathan Safran Foer); and painter Maxfield Parrish (actor Max Minghella).

(LENOX, Mass.) – Fashion magazine Vogue and literary legend Edith Wharton make a perhaps unlikely pairing, but no one at The Mount is complaining that in the September issue of Vogue, now on newsstands and its largest issue ever, the two come together – the magazine features a photo spread shot by superstar photographer Annie Leibovitz on location at The Mount and at other nearby Berkshire locations, featuring supermodels including Natalia Vodianova portraying Wharton herself; hot young actors such as Juno Temple and Elijah Wood; and all-star authors including Jonathan Safran Foer, Jeffrey Eugenides and Junot Diaz, re-creating scenes from Wharton’s life in Lenox.

This past June, The Mount was host to famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, Vogue creative director Grace Coddington, supermodel Natalia Vodianova, and a multitude of actors and writers as they recreated scenes inspired by actual photographs of Edith Wharton and her close circle of friends. The photographs are accompanied by an essay written by novelist Colm Toibin that details Wharton’s friendship and sometimes love triangle with Henry James and Morton Fullerton. The pictures and essays, along with a behind-the scenes view with the models, can be viewed online.

The sixteen-page fashion spread was informed by historical photographs taken during the ten years Wharton called The Mount her summer home. Vogue inspired casting of Wharton’s close circle includes: supermodel Natalia Vodianova as Edith Wharton; writer Jeffrey Eugenides as Henry James; actor Jack Huston as Wharton’s lover Morton Fullerton; actress Juno Temple as Wharton’s secretary and companion, Anna Bahlmann; actor Elijah Wood as Cook, Wharton’s chauffeur; actress and Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer as Wharton’s niece Beatrix Farrand; writer Junot Diaz as Walter Berry; writer Jonathan Safran Foer as architect Ogden Codman, Jr.; actor Max Minghella as painter Maxfield Parrish; artist Nate Lowman as sculptor Daniel Chester French; and actor James Corden as Teddy Roosevelt. The original photographs are available for view online at the Beineke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

“We are thrilled that Vogue has created this wonderful homage to Edith Wharton,” said Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount. “The Mount was and will always be Wharton’s home. It was designed by her, paid for with her money, and it’s where she blossomed into one of the greatest American writers of all time. It’s no surprise that Annie Leibovitz and Grace Coddington, two women who have achieved world renown and respect in their given fields, are inspired by Wharton.”

To escape the heat, Wharton, accompanied by intimates Henry James (novelist Jeffrey Eugenides, far left) and Morton Fullerton (actor Jack Huston, far right), motored over the hills and valleys.

“To have Wharton and The Mount featured prominently in the September issue of Vogue is a huge honor,” said Rebecka McDougall, marketing and communications director at The Mount. “We knew we wanted to tell more of Wharton’s story in this celebratory year, her 150th birthday, to build awareness of the work we are doing here. We are delighted Vogue was interested in conveying a major part of it, calling attention to Wharton’s lasting relevance and her continuing role as a 21st century muse. Being a part of Vogue’s September issue will help elevate the visibility of The Mount and the Berkshire region on national and international levels. It’s very exciting.”

The pictorial features scenes recreated on various areas of The Mount’s property including Wharton’s Bedroom, the Terrace, the Grass Steps, the Library and scenes on the shore of Laurel Lake in Lee and at sculptor Daniel Chester French’s studio at Chesterwood in Stockbridge.

The Mount is both a historic site and a cultural destination inspired by the passions and achievements of Edith Wharton. Designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902, the house embodies the principles outlined in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses (1897). The property includes three acres of formal gardens designed by Wharton, who was also an authority on European landscape design, surrounded by extensive woodlands.

The ten years Wharton called The Mount her home changed her forever, both as an artist and as a person. For Wharton, it was a period of self-discovery, growth, creativity, and validation, as well as agitation, in the most intimate areas of her life. While at The Mount, Wharton wrote both Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth.

Programming at The Mount reflects Wharton’s core interests in the literary arts, architecture and interior design, landscape design, and the art of gracious living. Annual exhibits explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Edith Wharton’s birth and The Mount’s 2012 season, Edith Wharton, 21st Century Muse, honors her many contributions and achievements with performances, special events, readings, and lectures that highlight Wharton’s longevity and continued relevance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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