Pancake Brunch among Weekend Programs Marking Opening of Sugaring Off Exhibition At The Clark

For Immediate Release

January 05, 2004

An old-fashioned New England pancake brunch and other public programs will celebrate the opening of the special exhibition Sugaring Off: The Maple Sugar Paintings of Eastman Johnson at the Clark Art Institute this Martin Luther King, Jr., Day weekend. The pancake brunch will be offered in the Clark café on Sunday, January 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., followed by an opening lecture about the exhibition at 2 p.m. in the auditorium. Cost for the buffet breakfast of buttermilk pancakes with Vermont maple syrup, sausage, bacon, juice, and hot beverages is $12 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under ($10/$8 for members of the Clark). Dress is casual, and reservations are not necessary. Brian Allen, curator of American paintings and the exhibition, will give the lecture "Eastman Johnson, Winslow Homer, and Abolition." The exhibition will be on view beginning at 10 a.m. on January 18. Admission to the lecture and to the galleries is free.

The weekend will begin with a free showing of the film Glory on Friday, January 15, at 4 p.m. The 1989 Civil War film about the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first all-African-American military unit, stars Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Broderick. The Civil War era themes of the film and Allen's lecture relate to themes in the Eastman Johnson exhibition. Johnson, a supporter of the Union cause, likely identified maple sugar, made by free workers, as a valuable alternative to the cane sugar produced by slaves on sugar plantations.

The Clark has added special gallery hours on Martin Luther King Day, opening the galleries from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, January 19.

Sugaring Off: The Maple Sugar Paintings of Eastman Johnson reunites a series of paintings by Eastman Johnson representing maple-sugar-making traditions in New England. Known in his day as "the American Rembrandt," Johnson (1824-1906) is one of the most important American painters of the 19th century. At the time of the Civil War, Johnson created a series of oil sketches depicting the charm of Yankee life-kettle tenders, storytellers, children with sleds, and woodcutters-culminating in large oil sketches of the "sugaring off," a party at which townspeople and farmers would gather around bubbling sap kettles for a feast. Fifteen of the best of these works will be featured in the exhibition, along with a video about maple sugar making past and present. Organized by the Clark Art Institute, Sugaring Off will be on view at the Clark January 18 through April 18 and will later travel to the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5p.m. Gallery admission is free through June 26, 2004. For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit

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