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Peter Paul Rubens, Rear Face of the Arch of Philip, engraving by Theodor van Thulden, from Pompa introitus, c. 1641, Julius S. Held Collection of Rare Books

Clark Art Institute Acquires 16th-18th Century Library from Julius S. Held

For Immediate Release

April 19, 2002

Through the generosity of Julius S. Held of Bennington, VT, and his family, the library of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has acquired Dr. Held's collection of rare 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century books. Held is a distinguished scholar of Rubens and Rembrandt. His classical library comprises more than 200 volumes and measures more than 34 linear feet. The collection is currently being catalogued and will be available in the Clark's rare book room.

"We have always considered ourselves lucky to have Dr. Held, such an internationally recognized scholar, as our friend and neighbor," said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. "With this acquisition, the marvelous collection Dr. Held has assembled is now a valuable resource for the Clark, its Fellows, faculty and students of Williams College, the larger academic community, and the public."

The addition of the Held library enhances the Clark's art history research library, one of the nation's premier resources for the study of European and American art, containing more than 200,000 printed books, bound periodicals, and auction sales catalogues. The library, one of the few such libraries that is open to the public as well as to scholars, supports the Institute's role as an international center for research and discussion on art, its history, criticism, and the institutions that shape and support the field. The library is home to offices for recipients of Clark Fellowships-one to ten month research fellowships awarded to about 18 museum, university, and independent scholars annually-and supports the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, a leading masters degree program jointly operated by the Clark and Williams College.

The Held library includes a notable group of books published by Plantin Press in Antwerp in the 16th century. Dr. Held collected many of the books for their illustrations by such artists as Peter Paul Rubens. These books include works by Virgil and Ovid, versions of Aesop's fables, and titles on mythology, astronomy, religion, and anatomy from the 1500s to the 1800s, in a range of languages, including Greek, Latin, German, Italian, and French. The collection also includes important art histories and early treatises on iconology and emblems. Among the titles included are The fables of Aesop paraphras'd in verse (1668) by John Ogilby, Die Kunst der Chiromantzey (c. 1523) by Joannes Indagine, and Pompa introitus honori...Ferdinandi (c. 1641) by Jean Gaspard Gevaerts.

Born in Germany, Julius Held was educated at the Universities of Heidelberg, Berlin, Vienna, and Freiburg. He was professor at Barnard College, Columbia University for more than 30 years. His extensive contributions to the study of Dutch and Flemish art range from the 1947 book Rubens in America to 1982's Flemish and German Paintings of the 17th-Century. His publications also include Rembrandt Studies, The Oil Sketches of Peter Paul Rubens, and countless articles and book reviews in such publications as The Art Bulletin, The Burlington Magazine, and Oud Holland.

Dr. Held's honors include the Medal of Distinction from Barnard College, the Art Dealers Association of America's Award for Outstanding Achievement, and the Vermont Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 1974 he was appointed Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne by King Baudoin of Belgium. He holds honorary degrees from Williams College, Columbia University, Dickinson College, Heidelberg University, and Southern Vermont College. Dr. Held was honored at the Clark earlier this week at the annual Julius S. Held Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the Clark and the Graduate Program.

Dr. Held's library was acquired through a combined purchase and gift.

About the Research Library

Established in 1962, the Clark Art Institute library has become one of the major art reference and research libraries in the country. Focusing on post-medieval art, the collection is outstanding in the Italian and Northern Renaissance, Baroque, and French 19th-century fields and is well balanced in other areas. Its resources include approximately 200,000 books, bound periodicals, and auction sales catalogues, with current journal subscriptions numbering around 650.

Founded on the libraries of the former firm of Duveen Brothers (New York) and of the late Dutch art historian W. R. Juynboll, the Clark also holds an important collection of books on the decorative arts given by Mary Ann Beinecke and a collection of works on early 20th-century art (with particular strengths in Dada and Surrealism) given by George Heard Hamilton, former director of the Institute. Robert Sterling Clark's outstanding collection of rare books is notable for its illustrated books, fine bindings, and literature in rare editions and comprises about one-third of the 2200 titles in the rare book collection. In addition, the library holdings include a collection of 20th-century artists' books.

The library is a member of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), a nationwide cooperative network of museum, university, and research libraries. Arranged in open stacks, the library is non-circulating outside the premises but study areas are available throughout its four floors. Terminals giving access to the on-line catalog and an extensive suite of electronic databases are available on all floors.

The library is free and open the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Further information is available on the Clark website at www.clarkart.edu/library.

The Clark

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is one of the country's foremost art museums and also a dynamic center for research and higher education in art history and criticism. The Clark's exceptional collections of Old Master, Impressionist, and 19th-century American art on display in the museum's intimate galleries are enhanced by the beauty of its 140-acre setting in the Berkshires. The Clark is also recognized for its special exhibitions, such as the recent Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890, which concurrently advance critical thought and generate popular interest in the arts.

The Institute is one of only a few art museums in the U.S. that is also a major research and academic center, with an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia, and an important art research library. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation's leading M.A. programs in art history, which has been part of the professional development of a significant number of directors of art museums, curators, and scholars. The Clark's Fellows and conference programs draw university and museum professionals from around the world to pursue research and share new scholarship. The Clark also is home to the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, which serves more than 50 institutions in the region and also provides professional training in art conservation.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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