A Beautiful Construction: Edith Wharton at The Mount
The Mount’s “A Beautiful Construction” exhibit honors the accomplishments and legacy of Edith Wharton. Using her house as its stage, this exhibit explores her core beliefs in beauty and structure.
Edith Wharton is remembered as a literary giant of the twentieth century, an intimidating doyenne of letters cloaked in furs and biting wit. But was she always a literary titan? A Beautiful Construction explores the transformation of a woman who came to Lenox an unknown writer deeply unhappy with the strictures of her class, and who left ten years later as an international literary celebrity. The Mount was the site of a radical transformation in Wharton’s life: there, she realized her genius for interior design, she wrote some of her most enduring stories, and embarked on her first (and only known) love affair. Wharton created for herself a world of unparalleled beauty on the shores of Laurel Lake, a refuge where she could become the Edith Wharton we remember today.
Included in this exhibit is a fresh look at Edith Wharton’s husband, Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton (1850-1928), whom Wharton once called “the kindest of companions.” Much has been written about the unhappier days of the Wharton marriage, but very little about Teddy Wharton himself: the companionable early years of their marriage, his pride in The Mount, and his deep connection to Lenox. Few of Teddy’s letters survive, but thanks to the research of co-curator Cornelia Brooke Gilder and the scholarship of Irene Goldman-Price, a little more of Teddy’s voice can now be heard.