(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – It’s now official – over one million people have gone out of their way to view what Berkshirites have comfortably taken for granted for decades. The international tour of works from The Clark in Williamstown marked a significant milestone as it surpassed the one million visitor mark during the final weekend of its presentation at Barcelona’s CaixaForum. The exhibition Impressionistes: Mestres francesos de la colecció Clark concluded its 12-week run at CaixaForum on February 12, 2012, where it was viewed by more than 200,000 visitors.
The exhibition features 72 paintings from The Clark’s nineteenth-century European collection, including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, and Camille Pissarro, as well as those by Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Paul Gauguin, Jean-François Millet, Alfred Sisley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and Jean-Léon Gérôme.
The Clark’s first international tour began in October 2010 at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid with a special presentation of its full collection of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, at the same time as The Clark’s exhibition Picasso Looks at Degas was on view in Barcelona at the Museu Picasso. The tour of The Clark’s French Impressionist works then traveled to venues in Milan and Giverny, France, before opening at CaixaForum in November 2011. The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, will be the tour’s next venue — and its only U.S. stop — where it will open to the public on March 11.
“We have been delighted, and a bit overwhelmed, by the tremendous reception The Clark’s paintings have received at each of our European venues,” said Michael Conforti, director of The Clark. “The notion of one million people viewing these paintings over the last 14 months is truly rewarding. The tour has allowed us to share our collection with an audience that may not have the opportunity to visit the Berkshires, and it has allowed us to share the Berkshires with the world.”
The Clark tour has earned critical and public acclaim at each venue. After Madrid, the full tour of Impressionist works from The Clark was presented at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. Its March 2, 2011, opening drew the largest attendance in the history of the institution. The tour then moved on to the Musée des impressionnismes in Giverny, France (July 13 to October 31, 2011), where it set new attendance records for the museum located in the village which was at the center of the Impressionist movement. The November 17 opening at CaixaForum set the stage for its successful presentation, welcoming the largest opening audience for that venue.
The exhibition continues The Clark’s commitment to global outreach and cultural exchange. “It is our hope that this tour will encourage the cross-cultural exchange of new ideas and the discovery of common ground, paving the way to greater mutual understanding and cooperation through the arts,” Conforti said.
Accompanying the exhibition is the catalogue Great French Paintings from The Clark, published by Skira Rizzoli with editions in five languages. The 240-page publication, available in hardcover, features 131 color illustrations accompanied by essays by James A. Ganz and Richard R. Brettell.
The timing of the international tour coincides with renovation work currently underway on The Clark’s original 1955 museum building as part of the Institute’s campus expansion program.
The tour schedule will bring The Clark exhibition to leading museums and venues in Europe, North America, and Asia through 2013.
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from The Clark
March 11 – June 17, 2012
Royal Academy of Arts, London, England
From Paris, A Taste of Impressionism: Paintings from The Clark
July 7 – September 23, 2012
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada
A History of Impressionism. Great French Paintings from The Clark
October 8, 2012 – January 20, 2013
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan
Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China
Additional Chinese and South Korean dates and venues will be announced shortly.
Sterling and Francine Clark acquired most of the paintings which form the basis of the Clark’s collection. From the 1910s until the 1950s, the Clarks assembled an outstanding collection of European and American paintings, sculpture, and drawings, as well as British silver and European porcelain. The Clark is best known for its collection of French Impressionist paintings, including more than 30 works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which take their place within a wider ensemble of masterworks that date from the Renaissance to the end of the nineteenth century. Although the collection has expanded greatly since the Institute’s opening in 1955, including a growing collection of early photography, the scope and character continues to represent the taste and interests of the founders.
The Clark is one of the few major art museums that also serves as a leading international center for research and scholarship. The Clark presents public and education programs and organizes groundbreaking exhibitions that advance new scholarship, and its research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and conferences. Its 140-acre campus in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts includes Stone Hill Center, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, which opened in 2008, and houses special exhibition galleries, meeting and classroom facilities, and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. The Clark, together with Williams College, America’s foremost liberal arts college, sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history.
The Clark is currently completing the final phase of a campus expansion program that includes construction of the Ando-designed Visitor, Exhibition, and Conference Center; renovation of the existing museum building and Manton Research Center; and a dramatic new landscape plan. During the time in which its campus is being transformed, the Clark has launched the ClarkNOW initiative, which encompasses a series of more than 60 exhibitions, conferences, and special events that will take place in Williamstown, New York, and abroad.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open daily in July and August (open Tuesday through Sunday from September through June), 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is free November 1 through June 15. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit The Clark.