Paper Trails: 100 Great Drawings, Prints, and Photographs from the Clark to Open February 19, 2006

For Immediate Release

October 28, 2005

Pop-culture meets fine art masterpieces during Paper Trails: 100 Great Drawings, Prints, and Photographs from the Clark, an engaging exhibition of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s greatest works on paper. Paper Trails runs February 19 through April 30, 2006.
This exhibition is a continuation of the Clark’s 50th anniversary celebration in which the permanent collection is viewed in new and innovative ways. Paper Trails draws surprising connections between seemingly unrelated works in the manner of the popular theory “Six Degrees of Separation.” Visitors will follow a continuous thread from the first image to the last, discovering not only what ties one work to the next but reflecting on the web-like associations that link the works of artists from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. Some links will be obvious, some will require introspection and imagination, but all will be explained in a visually intriguing manner.

With an impressive holding of over 5,000 works on paper, the Clark’s collection is rich and varied, including masterpieces by Picasso, Cézanne, Degas, Bonnard, Stieglitz, Rembrandt, Lartigue, Whistler, and many other great artists. Starting with Adam and Eve, Albrecht Dürer’s 1504 engraving, Paper Trails winds its way through 500 years of the graphic arts, connecting an Atget photograph of Versailles dating from the 1920s, a pen and ink drawing of an Old Testament scene by Rembrandt, Pablo Picasso’s 1904 etching The Frugal Repast, and Edvard Munch’s 1895 hand-colored lithograph Madonna to end where it began, with Dürer’s Adam and Eve, encompassing 100 works along the way. Relationships linking individual works will include subject matter, medium, provenance, and personal associations between artists. Viewers will be encouraged to consider the works on several different levels.

“I’m pleased that in Paper Trails we will have an opportunity to show off some of the greatest treasures from the Clark’s outstanding collection of works on paper, which was begun by Sterling and Francine Clark during the 1910s and has grown significantly since the museum opened in 1955,” said James Ganz, the Clark’s curator of prints, drawings, and photographs. “We are including a number of important recent acquisitions, which are being shown for the first time, alongside some of our best-loved favorites. I expect visitors to the exhibition to be impressed by the range and quality of our drawings, prints, and photographs."

Sterling and Francine Clark amassed some 500 drawings and 1,400 prints that formed the basis for a curatorial department devoted to works on paper—now the department of prints, drawings, and photographs—spanning the history of the graphic arts from the 15th-century through the mid-20th century. The Clark began acquiring early photographs in 1998 and has assembled a core selection of more than 300 photographs that date from the invention of the medium in 1839 to the threshold of modernism in the 1920s, and reflect the quality and character of the Clark collection. Paper Trails draws from the strength and depth of the collection and offers a rare viewing of these works, which because of their light-sensitive nature, are seldom on view.

Festivities planned in conjunction with Paper Trails include: “Sterling Turns Gold,” an opening party on February 18; an opening lecture on February 19 by Ganz, “100 Degrees of Separation: Creating the Paper Trails;” a lecture by Boston College professor Jonathan Bloom on the history of paper on March 5; and a closing lecture by Michael Cassin, the Clark’s curator of education, on April 30.

About the Clark

In May 2005, the Clark began its 50th anniversary with a year-long program of special exhibitions and initiatives, including the establishment of a new prize for arts writing and the first national tour of masterpieces from its permanent collection. The program also encompasses several special exhibitions including Winslow Homer: Making Art, Making History during fall 2005, and The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings from the Collections of Sterling and Stephen Clark exploring the collecting history of Sterling Clark and his brother Stephen, bringing together works from their acclaimed collections for the first time.

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


Return to the previous page