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Newly Discovered Rare Pissarro Monotype Acquired by the Clark

For Immediate Release

February 08, 2006

An extraordinary color monotype by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) has been acquired by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The Haymakers c. 1895 is a rare example in Pissarro’s oeuvre; it is one of few monotypes made by the artist, even fewer of which were made in color. Never previously published, the work was in a French private collection for many years. It will be shown for the first time in the Clark’s upcoming exhibition Paper Trails: 100 Great Drawings, Prints, and Photographs from the Clark on view February 19 through April 30, 2006.

The Haymakers is one of only two-dozen Pissarro monotypes in existence, only half of which were conceived and executed in color.  The image, printed on 18th-century paper, appears to have had some color added by Pissarro after the printing process. The extreme rarity of the work comes not only from the limited number of monotypes Pissarro produced but also from the technique itself, which produces only a single impression. The subject, a group of peasants working in a field, reflects the artist’s special interest in portraying the life of the rural poor. Similar motifs appear in his paintings of the 1880s and ‘90s.

The Haymakers is a very fine example of Pissarro’s technique, with fresh surfaces and vivid, nuanced color,” said James Ganz, curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the Clark. “Pissarro likely learned the monotype technique from Edgar Degas, who brought it to the attention of the Parisian public when he showed monotypes in the third Impressionist exhibition of 1877. Given its quality, rarity, and previously unknown status, this work is a particularly exciting addition to our rich collection.”

The Haymakers marks the first Pissarro monotype acquisition by the Clark, and fits well into its collection, which is particularly strong in 19th-century French art. The Clark’s rich and wide-ranging holdings of works on paper now comprise more than 5,000 objects. Rounding out the Clark’s collection of Pissarro works, The Haymakers joins eight oils on canvas, a pastel, etchings, and lithographs. This acquisition is also contextualized by the Clark’s large collection of French and American monotypes.

Paper Trails: 100 Great Drawings, Prints, and Photographs from the Clark

Paper Trails: 100 Great Drawings, Prints, and Photographs from the Clark, an exhibition of the Clark’s greatest works on paper, 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 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. 

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.

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 www.clarkart.edu.

The Clark

Set amidst 140 bucolic acres in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, the Clark is one of the few major art museums in the United States that also serves as a leading international research center in the visual arts. In addition to its extraordinary collections, the Clark organizes groundbreaking special exhibitions that advance new ideas as it presents an array of public and educational programs to a wide audience. The Clark’s research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s 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 Clark campus is also home to the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, the nation’s largest member-supported regional facility for the restoration of works of art. For more information, visit www.clarkart.edu or call 413-458-2303.

 

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