Batter Up! Free Exhibition Softball Game on June 4 Pits Williamstown and Cooperstown Rivals Against One Another

For Immediate Release

May 23, 2006

From high school homecoming games, cross-town Little League, to the Red Sox and the Yankees, great sports rivalries are part of the fabric of our community. On Sunday, June 4 at 4 pm, at Cole Field on the Williams College campus, a new rivalry will be born: the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute versus the mighty museums of Cooperstown, NY – the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, and Farmers’ Museum. The free, five-inning softball game is one of many events celebrating the opening of the Clark’s summer exhibition, The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings which explores the collecting and sibling rivalry of Sterling Clark and Stephen Clark. This game, a symbolic reunion of the rival brothers, is sure to be fun for the entire family.

The Cooperstown/Williamstown rivalry is heightened by the recent discovery of historic documents that reveal baseball was played in Pittsfield (20 miles south of Williamstown) as early as 1791, some 48 years before Abner Doubleday is said to have first played the game in Cooperstown.

Old fashioned baseball food, games and a trivia contest will add to the competition on the field. Between innings, spectators’ knowledge of the Clark family and their museums will be tested and prizes will be awarded to the lucky winners. Local children will provide a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” encouraging all in attendance to sing along. At the conclusion of the game, Jane Forbes Clark, granddaughter of Stephen Clark and chairman of the board of trustees of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, will present to the victors the newly created Clark Cup, a symbol of the resolution to the brothers’ long conflict.

Sterling and Stephen were heirs to the Singer Sewing fortune and spent most of their youth in New York City and Cooperstown, NY. Early in their collecting they often consulted one another and sought out works together, but in the 1920s disagreements over the family estate caused a permanent rift between the brothers and they never spoke again. Stephen’s ties to Cooperstown were strong and he was instrumental in the founding of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, and Farmers’ Museum. Stephen was also a founding board member of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Sterling chose Williamstown, home of his grandfather’s alma mater Williams College, as the location for his museum.

Featuring close to 70 paintings, The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings will be the first exhibition to unite the masterpieces collected by Sterling – works by Renoir, Monet, Degas, Homer and Sargent, and more – with those collected by his brother Stephen, including paintings by Cézanne, Hopper, Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. The exhibition will examine the brothers’ collecting and how they helped to define the changing taste for Impressionist and Early Modern art in the first half of the 20th century.

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 June 1 through October 31 is $10 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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