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Van Gogh and Hals Go Dutch With Millet and Renoir at the Clark during Dutch Dialogues

For Immediate Release

April 25, 2007

Dutch masterpieces will meet their matches at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute this summer during Dutch Dialogues from June 3 to September 3. On view will be four iconic works by Vincent van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Jean-François Millet. In addition, two portraits by Frans Hals will be reunited for the first time in two centuries, and a work by contemporary Dutch artist Robert Scholte will be juxtaposed with the Clark’s Impressionist paintings. Several magnificent 17th-century Dutch paintings from the Clark’s permanent collection will also be on view.

Dutch Dialogues features works of art linked by a unique “dialogue” allowing visitors to compare masterpieces by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh to works in the Clark’s collection. Van Gogh will meet Renoir when their striking self-portraits are displayed side by side in the galleries. Exhibiting the Clark-owned Renoir next to Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait (Vincent Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) underscores the shared stylistic and psychological relationships between the two artists. The Clark’s pastel by Jean-François Millet titled The Sower will be joined with Van Gogh’s Sower (after Millet) (Vincent Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam). Millet’s depictions of field laborers left an indelible impression on the artistic imagination of Van Gogh who returned to the motif repeatedly in later years.

The portrait of Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan (The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida) and Maritge Vooght Claesdr., Wife of Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan, Mayor of Haarlem (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), both painted by Frans Hals in 1639, will once again face each other as Hals had intended. This husband and wife duo were originally painted as a pair but have been separated at least since the 19th century. This will be the first time in centuries the two paintings by the Dutch artist will be reunited.Recent conservation of the painting of Maritge Vooght Claesdr. has led to startling surprises, including details that were added well after Hals’s death.

The final “dialogue” will feature Chlamydia (Williams College Museum of Art), a reinterpretation of Edouard Manet’s famous Olympia,by contemporary Dutch artist Robert Scholte. This imposing composition will be juxtaposed with works from the Clark’s collection of Impressionist paintings. Scholte’s large expanse of jet black canvas will provide shocking contrast among the room’s pastel pinks, delicate nudes, and serene landscapes. The title of Scholte’s painting, the name of a sexually transmitted disease, recalls the shock value Manet’s Olympia had when originally exhibited, thereby reminding us that the subject matter and style of the Impressionists frequently challenged traditional notions of what was “proper” for art.

The works by Renoir, Millet, Van Gogh, and Scholte will be displayed within the Impressionist Gallery in a special installation designed by Selldorf Architects, the firm recently selected for the renovation of the Clark’s original museum building.

In addition to Dutch Dialogues, focused gallery talks, a chamber music concert, a film series,talks on architecture and design, and a free Dutch-inspired family day will bring a cultural sampling of the Netherlands to the Clark.

This exhibition is organized in collaboration with “NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires” and received initial funding from the Netherlands Culture Fund.

Also on view at the Clark this summer is The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings. Just when you thought you knew all there is to know about one of the world’s most popular artists, look into the secret world of Claude Monet and discover his hidden life as a youthful caricaturist, masterful draftsman, and talented pastel artist. Newly discovered documentation of Monet’s formative years and the first comprehensive gathering of his rarely seen works on paper combine to make this a truly groundbreaking exhibition. The Unknown Monet will be on view June 24 through September 16.

The Clark
The Clark's exceptional collections of Old Master, Impressionist, and 19th-century American art on display in the museum's intimate galleries are enhanced by the beauty of its setting in the Berkshires. The Clark is surrounded by 140 acres of expansive lawns, meadows, and walking trails.

The Clark is located on South Street, one-half mile south of the junction of routes 2 and 7 in the center of Williamstown, MA. The Clark is about three hours by car from Boston and New York City and about one hour from Lenox, MA, and Albany, NY. 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 $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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