Homer and Sargent from the Clark to Open at Stone Hill Center June 22

For Immediate Release

June 12, 2008

American artists Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent captured sensations ranging from North Atlantic cold to North African heat. Homer and Sargent from the Clark, the inaugural exhibition in Stone Hill Center at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, features twelve of the Clark’s masterpieces by these two great artists, shown in contemplative gallery spaces that connect art and nature. These bold paintings complement the softly painted works featured in Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly, on view in the Clark’s main exhibition galleries. Both exhibitions are on view June 22 through October 19.

“Stone Hill Center brings us into the surrounding landscape as never before and allows for spectacular views from the terrace of Tadao Ando’s splendid new building,” said director Michael Conforti. “We have carefully selected these works by Homer and Sargent to highlight the art in nature experience and I am pleased that some of the Clark’s most beloved works will be on view in this beautiful new setting.”

Sterling Clark counted Winslow Homer (1836–1910) among the nineteenth century’s greatest artists. He acquired his first Homer painting in 1915 and continued to collect works by the artist for the next forty years, eventually owning over 200 of his oils, watercolors, and works on paper, more than by any other artist. Homer reveled in nature, spending long periods at work and play in the Adirondacks, Canada, and the Caribbean. His decision in 1883 to live in Prout’s Neck, Maine—far from urban centers, and the site represented in five of the paintings on view—testifies to how powerfully he felt the lure of the sea. Homer wrote from there, “The life that I have chosen gives me my full hours of enjoyment for the balance of my life. The sun will not rise, or set, without my notice, and thanks.”

Clark acquired Venetian Interior by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925)in 1913—his first purchase of a work by an American artist. At the time Sargent was at the height of his fame. By 1939 Clark owned a dozen of Sargent’s oils including Fumée d’ambre gris. Sargent gained an international reputation within five years of arriving in Paris in 1874, where he learned to paint. Sargent’s technical virtuosity is on full display in the paintings he made for the official Salon, including Carolus-Duran and Fumée d’ambre gris, as well as more formally bold canvases, such as two Venetian scenes. The lively portrait of Madame Escudier demonstrates the sensibility that made Sargent one of the most sought-after portraitists of his day.

On view in the intimate galleries at Stone Hill Center during Homer and Sargent will be Homer’s Undertow, Two Guides, West Point, Prout’s Neck, Eastern Point, Summer Squall, Sleigh Ride, and Saco Bay, and Sargent’s Venetian Interior, Carolus-Duran, Fumée d’ambre gris, Madame Escudier, and Venetian Street Scene.

In 2005, in celebration of the Clark’s fiftieth anniversary, Fumée d’ambre gris was given the special distinction of being the public’s favorite work of art at the Clark. Homer’s Sleigh Ride, Two Guides, and West Point, Prout’s Neck, were also included in the public’s “50 Favorites.”

On June 22, 2008, the Clark will open Stone Hill Center, the first phase of its expansion and campus enhancement project. Designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Tadao Ando, the wood and glass 32,000-square-foot building houses intimately scaled galleries, a meeting and studio art classroom, an outdoor café, and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC). Stone Hill Center takes advantage of the Clark’s dramatic natural setting with views of the Green Mountains and Taconic Range from the terrace.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November 1 through May 31. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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