The Lunder Center galleries are temporarily closed.


For Immediate Release

October 14, 2014

Williamstown, MA—The Clark Art Institute’s painting Man Reading has been unequivocally attributed to the great Dutch Master Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) by Ernst van de Wetering, long-time head of the Netherlands-based Rembrandt Research Project, in the project’s sixth and final volume published this week. The attribution of the painting, as well as the verification of many other works attributed to Rembrandt, however, continues to be the subject of scholarly debate. In light of this debate, the Clark has installed the painting, which is on view for the first time since the July 2014 reopening of the newly renovated Museum Building. The painting will be on view until early January.

Man Reading was acquired by Sterling Clark in 1923 and entered the museum’s collection in 1955 as a work by “Rembrandt School,” a term used to indicate that a work was considered a product of the artist’s followers. In 2011 the Clark changed the designation of the work to “attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn,” acknowledging van de Wetering’s scholarship and the increased likelihood that the work was painted by Rembrandt and not his students.

“Ernst van de Wetering is a leading Rembrandt scholar, and his certainty that Man Reading was created by the artist himself is an important piece of the attribution puzzle,” said Richard Rand, Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Senior Curator at the Clark. “But as important as van de Wetering’s opinion is, it does not end the debate. We are comfortable with stating the painting is attributed to Rembrandt, but we will continue to review scholarship related to the painting.”

For centuries, the painting was thought to portray an individual, but recent research suggests it may be a tronie—a type of image in which seventeenth-century Dutch artists explored facial expressions and costumes. The richly textured surface and the contrast of warm light and soft shadows are typical of paintings by Rembrandt and his students, who learned the master’s techniques by copying his work.


The Clark Art Institute 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, open to the public with more than 240,000 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 opened its expanded facilities on July 4, 2014, unveiling new and enhanced spaces that accommodate the continued growth of the Institute’s programs. Included in this final stage of the project are the new 42,600-square-foot Clark Center designed by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, expansion and renovation of the original Museum Building and the ongoing renovation of the Manton Research Center by Selldorf Architects, and a sweeping redesign of the grounds by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture. The first phase of the campus expansion project was completed in 2008 with the opening of the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, a striking conservation and exhibitions facility also designed by Tadao Ando.

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 through October 31, 2014 and free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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