January 18, 2018
Williamstown, Massachusetts—Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Clark Art Institute, presents “Drawing and Experimentation from Van Gogh to Pollock,” the opening lecture for the special exhibition Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection, on Saturday, February 3 at 3 pm. The free lecture will be held in the Clark’s auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center.
Clarke addresses the liberation of drawing between the 1880s and the 1950s as the medium’s function shifted from preparatory to independent. Practitioners such as Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollock embraced elements of chance, repetition, radical spatial construction, and the subconscious in their graphic production. Clarke considers how the very practice of drawing encouraged artists to grapple with changing modern forms and their markets as they worked in line, wash, and collage.
Drawn to Greatness features 150 exceptional drawings from the Eugene V. Thaw Collection. Assembled over the last fifty years, it is one of the world’s finest private collections of drawings. The exhibition focuses on pivotal moments in the history of the art form, featuring works that represent the pinnacle of each artist’s output.
Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection is organized by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Presentation at the Clark is made possible by the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. Free admission is available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; EBT Card to Culture; Museums for All; Bank of America Museums on Us; and Blue Star. For more information on these programs and more, visit or call 413 458 2303.
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