Weekend Course to Focus on French Art of the 1800s

For Immediate Release

August 17, 2002

An exclusive two-day course at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will provide adults with a general interest in art and art history the opportunity to fully explore 19th-century French art using one of the country's finest collections. The Clark will offer "Artists' Impressions: French Art in the 1800s" on Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20. The intensive course will examine the work of the French Impressionists as well as the French academic painters, Barbizon artists such as Jean-François Millet and Camille Corot, and American artists who spent time in France, such as John Singer Sargent. Instructors include curators from the Clark and faculty from nearby Williams College. Cost for the course is $300 ($250 for members) and includes all lectures, gallery talks, museum admission, receptions, and lunches. For more information or to register, call the education department at 413-458-2303, extension 363.

Taking advantage of the Clark's extensive collection of French Impressionist painting, the course will focus in particular on two of the favorite artists of founders Sterling and Francine Clark: Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas. The Clarks collected more than 30 paintings by Renoir, including the masterpieces At the Concert and Marie-Therese Durand-Ruel Sewing. The Institute holds works by Degas in every medium in which the artist worked. Highlights include his famous bronze sculpture, Little Dancer Aged 14, the oil painting The Dancing Lesson, and the extraordinary pastel The Entrance of the Masked Dancers, as well as prints, drawings, and photographs. The course will also examine the work of Impressionists Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, and Berthe Morisot, who are also represented in the Clark collection.

Course participants will also learn about other artists painting just before and at the same time as the Impressionists. Artists painting in the tradition of the Academy, such as William Bouguereau and Jean-Léon Gérôme will be examined, as will the Barbizon artists Corot and Millet. Other course sessions will look at Americans who painted in Paris, including John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt, and at the influence of early photography on painting. The course will include a behind-the-scenes visit to the print room, where participants will see 19th-century photographs, prints, drawings, and works on paper that are rarely on public view. The course will make use of the Clark's photography collection, begun in 1998, which has more than 200 photographs that date from the invention of the medium in 1839 to the threshold of modernism in the 1920s.

The course will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on October 19 and from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on October 20. Slide lectures will be: "Times Past: Academic Painting in 19th-century France," "The Life of the Country: Corot, Millet, and the Painters of the Barbizon," "Painting Quickly: The Impressionist Phenomenon," "A Passion for Renoir: The Clarks and Their Collection," "A Little Dancer, and More: The Clark's Collection of Works by Degas," "Americans in Paris: John Singer Sargent and his Contemporaries," and "'From Tomorrow Painting is Dead!': Early Photography in France." The weekend program will also include four talks in the Clark's intimate galleries.

All sessions will take place at the Clark Art Institute.

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 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 and encompasses one of the most comprehensive art history libraries in the world. Its Fellows and conference programs draw university and museum professionals from around the world.

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. Gallery admission is $10 (members, students, and children free). For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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