Manton Study Center for Works on Paper

The study center houses the Clark's collection of works on paper and is open to the public by appointment. For more information on the collection or to make an appointment, please call 413 458 0560 or complete this form

The Clark's collection of more than six thousand prints, drawings, and photographs spans the history of the graphic arts from the fifteenth century through the early twentieth century. The collection includes significant concentrations of work by Albrecht Dürer, Claude Lorraine, John Constable, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, and Winslow Homer. The Clark's small but important group of pastels by Degas, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, and Jean-François Millet are also housed in the department.
In 1998 the Clark began a major initiative to establish a core collection of European and American photography from the 1840s through the 1910s. The collection now numbers more than one thousand works, including important photographs by Eugène Atget, Édouard Baldus, Julia Margaret Cameron, Francis Frith, Gustave Le Gray, Nadar, William Henry Fox Talbot, Alfred Stieglitz, Linneaus Tripe, and Carleton Watkins.

Gerrit Dou Painting Conserved

The Clark has recently placed on view a significant painting by the seventeenth-century Dutch artist Gerrit Dou.  Girl at a Window, which had been in storage for decades, underwent extensive cleaning and conservation treatment at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center earlier this year. Its new installation in the Clark’s cabinet galleries has greatly enhanced the museum’s holdings of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings on display, including works by Abraham Bloemaert, Joachim Wtewael, and Dirck Hals.  Dou’s work evokes the sophistication of Dutch genre painting at mid-century, and the jewel-like quality of Leiden fijnschilder painting (fine painting).  Reconstituting this important work from the Clark’s own collection has been an exciting discovery.

The small painting on panel depicts a young kitchen maid leaning out of a stone window ledge.  A strong light illuminates the woman from the upper left, resulting in highlights on the metal flagon in her left hand and a sharp shadow cast across the stone niche.  Wearing a tightly laced red bodice that accentuates her décolleté, the woman looks beyond the picture plane where something has caught her attention.  The dark room behind her, decorated with paintings on the back wall, opens to a Dutch cityscape beyond the window.  A hallway in the back left corner extends into another room of the house. 

Before cleaning, layers of grime, discolored varnish, and old retouch on the woman’s face, right arm, and framework of the arch, had obscured the fine handling and delicacy of the composition.  Conservation revealed the brilliance of Dou’s color and rendering of light, and the careful attention he gave to the kitchen maid’s strands of hair, the warmth of her skin, and the reflections on the flagon.  The removal of old retouch also revealed the original color of the woman’s pupils, which, at some point in the painting’s history, had been altered from hazel to dark brown.  The handling of the light across the stone ledge similarly became more refined and nuanced, demonstrating Dou’s mastery of this illusionistic compositional device.

Dou was renowned in the seventeenth-century Netherlands as a fijnschilder.  Working in the Dutch town of Leiden, he created genre paintings with remarkable detail and illusionism through his painstakingly meticulous technique.  He developed the compositional device of situating figures in an arched window frame, where, as in the Clark’s kitchen maid, they break the picture plane by leaning over the ledge and into the viewer’s space.  This illusionistic effect demonstrated Dou’s sophisticated understanding of space, light, and shadow, and ability to capture different surface textures.  Most remarkable of all, however, is Dou’s handling of paint: the surface of this painting is so finely executed that it suggests the painter’s brush never touched the panel.  

The Manton Collection of British Art

The Manton Collection of British Art includes more than three hundred paintings, drawings, and prints by Gainsborough, Constable, Turner, and others. The collection was created by business leader and arts patron Sir Edwin A. G. Manton (1909–2005) and his wife Florence, Lady Manton (1911–2003). Born in Essex County, just twenty miles from “Constable Country” in the east of England, Sir Edwin arrived in New York in 1933 to help develop the American International Group. He spent the remainder of his life in the United States, though his love of British art, which he began collecting with his wife in the 1940s, was testimony to his continued devotion to his native country.
Sir Edwin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1994 for his generous contributions to the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) in London. Throughout his life, his appetite for art collecting never diminished. “I am a compulsive buyer,” he once observed. “It's better than spending your money on bottles of Scotch.” This magnificent collection, a gift from the Manton Foundation in 2007, constitutes the most significant addition of art to the Clark since it was founded in 1955, and perfectly complements the Clark’s holdings of nineteenth-century French and American art.


The history of ownership and collecting is intimately connected with the history of art and is taken especially seriously by museums based upon private collections, such as the Clark. The Clark has focused its provenance examination on paintings purchased by Sterling and Francine Clark, the Institute, and donors from 1933 to the present, with special emphasis on those paintings that might have changed ownership between 1933 and 1945. Researchers continue to gather all available provenance information on the Clark's collection, including European paintings. 

For more information click here.

Collection Activity

The Clark Art Institute continues to build and shape its collection to realize more fully and effectively its mission. To view recent acquisitions and deaccessions from the Clark's collection, click here.


Multimedia Guide

Try our multimedia guide—a new way to connect with art!

Multimedia guides are available at the admission desk for $5 ($3 members). The Clark’s multimedia guide can also be downloaded as an app for free onto your iPhone or Android phone using iTunes or Google Play™. 

In consideration of other visitors, please bring earbuds to listen to the audio in our galleries.

About the Clark’s Collections

The collection of the Clark Art Institute features European and American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. The collection is especially rich in French Impressionist and Academic paintings, British oil sketches, drawings, and silver, and the work of American artists Winslow Homer, George Inness, and John Singer Sargent. Based on the founding gift from Sterling and Francine Clark, the collection has expanded over the years through numerous acquisitions as well as significant gifts and bequests, including the gift of the Sir Edwin and Lady Manton Collection of British Art and the gift of paintings by George Inness by Frank and Katherine Martucci.