• Self portrait of photographer Augustus Martin with friends in a small room. Titled The Farewell, March 11, 1901

    “The Farewell” is a multi-site, literary and sculptural project by Molly Rideout, the 2021 Edith Wharton Writer-in-Residence.

    Inspired by The Mount’s current exhibition on photographer Augustus Martin, Rideout has delved into the local history of Lenox and Lenox Dale to discover more about this eccentric barber-cum-housepainter-cum-amateur-photographer. The result is a work of personal and historical nonfiction that interweaves the photographer’s possible relationship with a young woman in the Dale and the author’s parallel experience falling for an eccentric older man at an artist commune. The essay is layered with Rideout’s observations on the complicated relationship our culture has with aging and gender.

The installation in the Stable comprises two sets of windows believed to have been originally designed for the French doors in The Mount’s Drawing Room but never used. The two historic windows frame an interior door and act as a diptych of excerpts installed in vinyl of Rideout’s parallel narratives alongside reprints of Martin’s own photographs.

A second excerpt of the essay can be found in downtown Lenox on the front windows of The Bookstore.

More of Augustus Martin’s photos can be seen in The Mount’s exhibit “Life in the Dale: Augustus Martin’s Lenox” on the third floor of the Main House.

Rideout’s complete essay will be available in the fall of 2021, with a limited edition of handmade artist books designed and fabricated by the author. The book will officially launch with a live reading at The Mount in September. Check EdithWharton.org for details. Pre-order your copy of the artist book and essay at mollyrideout.com/farewell.

The armature fabrication on the doors was crafted by blacksmith Benjamin Westbrook of Hammer on Steel (North Adams).  Augustus Martin photographs courtesy of the Lenox Library. Special thanks to Amy Lafave, Matt Tannenbaum, and the staff at The Mount.

  • Molly Rideout

    About Molly Rideout

    Molly Rideout is a Midwestern writer, bookmaker, and public artist. Her fiction-nonfiction chapbook, Transient, was published in 2019 by Antenna Paper Machine, and her micro-story public art is installed across Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio. She now makes her home in North Adams, MA, where she works with MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program.
    Learn more at mollyrideout.com or follow her on Instagram @mollyrideout.