Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Snake Charmer, c. 1879, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.51.

Edgar Degas, Dancers in the Classroom, c. 1880, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

Clark Art Institute's Wide and Deep History of Impressionism

Alfred Sisley, The Loing and the Mills of Moret – Snow Effect, 1891, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.545.

Claude Monet, Les Falaises à Étretat, 1885, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

Claude Monet, Tulip Fields at Sassenheim, near Leiden, 1886, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.615.

Camille Pissarro, The River Oise near Pontoise, 1873, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.554.

Mary Cassatt, Offering the Panal to the Bullfighter, 1873, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.1.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Limoges, 1841-Cagnes-sur-Mer, 1919), Marie-Thérèse Durand-Ruel Sewing, 1882, Oil on canvas, 64.9 x 54 cm, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.613, © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, (Photo by Michael Agee).

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Limoges, 1841-Cagnes-sur-Mer, 1919), A Box at the Theater (At the Concert), 1880, Oil on canvas, 99.4 x 80.7 cm, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.594, © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, (Photo by Michael Agee).

Edgar Degas, (Paris 1834-Paris 1917), Petite danseuse de quatorze ans, 1879-1881,Bronze, tutu en tulle, ruban de satin, socle en bois, 99 cm, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.45, © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, (Photo by Michael Agee).

 

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1379 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest
514-284-1600
A History of Impressionism:
Great French Paintings from the Clark

October 13, 2012-January 20, 2013

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) hosts A History of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark. Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA and curator of this exhibition in Montreal, is delighted that “For the first and only time, one of the finest collections of Impressionist works in North America will be displayed in a Canadian exclusive at the Museum. Montreal is the sole Canadian venue for this historic tour, which travels from Europe to Asia during expansion work at Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Chosen for their exceptional quality, 73 paintings by Bonnard, Corot, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Millet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Sisley and Toulouse-Lautrec, including a selection of 21 outstanding canvases by Renoir, and the Degas sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (on view exclusively in Montreal) will be shown at the MMFA. The inclusion of academic works by Bouguereau, Gérôme and Stevens, among others, will enable visitors to see how the new ‘modernism’ challenged official painting.”

This exhibition is organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. The Montreal presentation is produced in collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Nathalie Bondil explained, “The selection on display shows a refined taste and a discerning eye for Impressionism: its forerunners with the Barbizon School, the birth of the movement and the historic vindication of the 1870s and 1880s are particularly well illustrated. Beyond the prestige of the signatures, these canvases are all of high quality in and of themselves.”

Visitors will be able to admire Monet’s landscapes, from The Cliffs at Étretat to the Dutch tulip fields and Spring in Giverny, the pastoral banks of the Seine painted by Caillebotte and Sisley and the cityscapes of Pissarro, such as The Louvre from the Pont Neuf. Works by Degas include the famous Before the Race with the horses and the jockeys in brightly coloured silks. The exotic settings of Gérôme contrast with the elegant subjects of Stevens and Boldini. Twenty-one Renoirs selected from the 32 Renoirs currently in the Clark collection vividly illustrate the blazing talent of the master of Impressionism: his celebration of female beauty (Girl with a Fan, A Box at the Theatre, Blonde Bather …), his landscapes (Sunset, Venice, the Doge’s Palace, Bay of Naples, Evening), still lifes (Apples in a Dish, Peonies …), and portraits (Self-portrait, Marie-Thérèse Durand-Ruel Sewing …).

More than 1,000,000 visitors have viewed the Clark’s collection during presentations of the international tour in Madrid, Milan, Giverny, Barcelona, Fort Worth and London. This is the first, and likely only time, that the full selection of works that are on loan for this tour will travel as a group. This rare opportunity is the result of a construction project currently under way at the Clark that will expand its exhibition space and renovate its galleries, thus making it possible for the museum to allow its noted collection of Impressionist works to be shared with audiences outside of its Williamstown, Massachusetts home during this period. After its presentation in Montreal, the tour will continue to venues in Japan, China, and South Korea before returning to the Clark for the opening of its galleries in July 2014.

This extraordinary collection, comparable in quality and size to that of Alfred C. Barnes, was the work of Robert Sterling Clark (1877-1956), heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune, who, for over half a century, quietly built up one of the finest art collections in the United States. Married to a French actress, Clark lived for many years in Paris, enthusiastically collecting art. A discriminating art lover and skilled negotiator, as independent in his lifestyle as in his tastes, this thoughtful and reticent man chose the artworks himself, consulting only with his knowledgeable wife, Francine. His collection included European and American paintings, Old Master prints and drawings, sculpture, silver and ceramics.

In 1955, the Clarks opened the institute that bears their names in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in the heart of New England. It is now famous around the world for the outstanding quality of its art collection, which spans from European Old Masters to 19th-century art, decorative arts and remarkable holdings of works on paper, and one of America’s largest art history libraries.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 224-page catalogue published in English (Skira Rizzoli) and French (Skira Flammarion) and in which each work is illustrated and analyzed in depth.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Waiting, c. 1888, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.564.

Claude Monet, Louise Harduin, 1831, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1959.539.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Blonde Bather, 1881, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.609.

Berthe Morisot (Bourges, 1841-Paris, 1895), The Bath, 1885-86, Oil on canvas, 92.1 x 73.3 cm, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.926, © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, (Photo by Michael Agee).

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Sleeping Girl, 1880, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.598.

Paul Gauguin (Paris, 1848-Atuona, Marquesas Islands, 1903), Young Christian Girl, 1894, Oil on canvas, 65.3 x 46.7 cm, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, Acquired in honor of Harding F. Bancroft (Institute Trustee, 1970-87; President, 1977-87) in 1986, 1986.22 , © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, (Photo by Michael Agee).

James Tissot, Chrysanthemums, c. 1874-76, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1994.2.

Édouard Manet, Moss Roses in a Vase, 1882, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.556.

Théodore Rousseau, Farm in the Landes, 1844-67, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 2009.8.

Camille Pissarro, The Louvre from the Pont Neuf, 1902, © The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

 

Claude Monet (Paris, 1840-Giverny, 1926), Geese in the Brook, 1874, Oil on canvas, 73.7 x 60 cm, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.529, [© Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.