"Rebecca Foster’s new edition of Harold Weston’s great autobiographical meditation on nature and art is much more than a new edition. It’s the book Weston himself might have written, if he’d had time and the advantage of looking back on his life from the mountaintop. It’s a unique addition to the literature of twentieth century art. With these new materials, Foster has brought to Weston’s book a context artistic, philosophical, and biographical that places it among the classics of American writing about the relationship between art, nature, and the deeply examined life."—Russell Banks, author of Cloudsplitter
"Weston was a latter-day John Wesley Powell, the one-armed explorer of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Lamed in one leg by polio, Weston had such a Romantic fascination with the wild and difficult, and [with] such energy, that he somehow propelled himself up and down the Adirondack peaks winter and summer during a long life. Weston’s well known autobiographical history of the region has now been expertly revised and includes not only color plates but also a trove of letters and diaries that are as vivid as his paintings and even more revealing of his inner life."—John Walsh, Director Emeritus, J. Paul Getty Museum
Harold Weston’s Freedom in the Wilds brings an informal history of the rugged Adirondack wilderness together with Weston’s own adventures there as an artist. The vivid and spirited stories he gathered from guides, lumbermen, and visionaries continue to make the case for preserving the wild lands of the region. First published in 1971, the book became a classic of Adirondack literature notable for its exploration of the dynamic relationship between wilderness and creativity and its ever more relevant appeal to protect an area within ourselves forever wild.
In this third edition, Rebecca Foster brings Weston’s fascinating personal story to the foreground. A new section of the book with excerpts from Weston’s rich storehouse of letters and diaries will be a revelation to fans of Weston’s work or for anyone interested in the growth of an impassioned, artistic mind. Here too are new illustrations, explanatory notes, and an introduction tracing the irrepressible energy behind Weston’s accomplishments, including the writings in this book.
Harold Weston (1894-1972) spent his childhood summers in the remote Adirondack High Peaks in upstate New York and built a studio-home there in 1920. His deep love and knowledge of the area came from painting its ancient, rugged mountains for most of his adult life. Breaking from solitude periodically, he was an ardent humanitarian devoted to relief work during both World Wars and to the fight for artists’ rights during the Cold War. Freedom in the Wilds, which was first published shortly before his death, is a tribute to the influence the Adirondacks had on his rich legacy of art and activism.
Rebecca Foster is president of the Society for the Preservation of American Modernists and Harold Weston’s granddaughter and biographer. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
6.125 x 9.25, 302 pages, 16 color, 52 black and white illustrations