The Woman Behind The Artist

Production still of Richard (Bruce Dern) and Claire (Lena Olin) in "The Artist's Wife."

“The Artist’s Wife,” a film shot on the East End and directed by part time resident Tom Dolby, will be released in theaters and on demand on September 25.

The film had its world premiere at the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2019, and it stars Lena Olin as Claire, a once promising painter, who now lives in the shadow of her husband Richard’s (played by Bruce Dern) illustrious career. While preparing work for his final show, Richard’s moods become increasingly erratic, and he is diagnosed with dementia. Challenged by the loss of her world as she knew it, Claire must now decide whether to stand with Richard on the sidelines or step into the spotlight herself.

The film was inspired by a history filled with female artists who have supported their more famous husbands or partners and is a contemporary imagining of the journey of the stronger woman behind the man.

Dolby initially began writing what he thought would be a book more than 10 years ago, merging an interest in art history, the effects of his father’s battle with Alzheimer’s and several winters he spent living in Wainscott.

“I found it to be, at times, somewhat bleak and lonely, but I also found it really beautiful,” Dolby in an interview last fall with the Express News Group. “For me, as a writer and storyteller, I found it really focused my attention on what I wanted to create, so that was incredibly inspiring for me, in coming up with the story of an artist who was a little bit stuck.”

The book eventually transitioned into a script and Dolby shot the film in about a month at locations from Amagansett to Riverhead. Among the familiar locations in the film are Cirillo’s Market in Amagansett, Golden Eagle Art Supply and White’s Apothecary in East Hampton, and even the inside of the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall.

“I think this is why the area is so perfect: What more beautiful place can you think of to shoot in than the Hamptons, and then to be able to contrast that against real life, which is messy and sometimes isn’t so pretty?” Dolby said in the interview last year.

To stream “The Artist’s Wife” beginning September 25, visit