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Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris Heats Up the Clark Beginning February 1

For Immediate Release

December 19, 2008

Vibrant and racy Parisian nightlife of the late nineteenth century will be on view at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute this winter. Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris, an exhibition of over eighty remarkable oil paintings, posters, photographs, drawings, and lithographs, marks the first time in over fifteen years that the Clark will show nearly its entire extraordinary collection of works by the great French painter and printmaker Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901). Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris will be on view February 1 through April 26, 2009.

Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris will revel in Montmartre’s raucous streets, cabarets, theaters and circuses—venues frequented by modern artists seeking inspiration from the world of entertainment at the turn of the century. The exhibition will showcase Toulouse-Lautrec’s magnificent capacity for both quiet intimacy and theatrical flair in a variety of media.

“I’m thrilled to share the Clark’s extensive holding of works by Toulouse-Lautrec with the public,” said associate curator of European art Sarah Lees. “This colorful and dynamic exhibition showcasing the spectacle of Paris will fill the Clark’s galleries with energy this winter.”

Representing one of the most technically innovative artists in the Clark collection, Toulouse-Lautrec was also one of Sterling and Francine Clark’s favorite artists. Featured works will include an 1891–2 oil portrait of the famous Moulin Rouge dancer Jane Avril, a favored subject of the artist who appears in several of his works, including the visually striking Jane Avril (1899), one of Toulouse-Lautrec’s last poster designs. Among the approximately fifty lithographs will be a complete edition of Elles, Toulouse-Lautrec’s series of twelve lithographs depicting the private lives of prostitutes, including Elles: Clown (Seated Clowness, Miss Cha-u-Kao) (1896). Also on display will be related works Toulouse-Lautrec’s contemporaries Edgar Degas, Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Louis Forain, and Théophile Alexandre Steinlen.

Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris is organized by the Clark and curated by Lees and curatorial assistant Sarah Hammond. The exhibitionwill open on Sunday, February 1, with the lecture “Wicked Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec Invents the Fin de Siècle” by S. Hollis Clayson, professor of art history at Northwestern University. Mary Weaver Chapin, assistant curator of prints and drawings at the Milwaukee Art Museum, will discuss Toulouse-Lautrec’s lifelong engagement with the nightlife of Paris on February 22.

On January 31 the Pleasures of Paris Winter Gala celebrates Paris, one of Europe’s most enchanting cities. Offering a feast for the senses, this fun-filled evening with a European flair promises fantastic food and wine, cabaret music, and a preview of Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris. Tickets are $55 ($45 per member). RSVP by January 21 to 413-458-0524 or online at clarkart.edu.

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 is free November 1 through May 31. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.


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