For Immediate Release
August 7, 2015

Williamstown, MA—Laura Coyle, head of cataloging and digitization at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and an alumnae of the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, presents the lecture “Painting Simply Flowers: Van Gogh and Nineteenth-century Flower Culture” at the Clark Art Institute on Sunday, August 23 at 4 pm. The lecture will be held at the Clark Center, West Pavilion.

Coyle has conducted in-depth research on Vincent van Gogh’s still lifes, including his flower paintings. Her lecture centers on Van Gogh’s emphasis on flower still lifes during his time in Paris. She explores ideas about how “painting simply flowers” helped him to master to the brighter, more colorful palette he is associated with today, as well as the role and significance of flowers in French culture during this time.

Coyle joined the Smithsonian Institution in 2010. She recently received the Secretary’s Award for Excellence for Digital Enterprise and was selected for the Smithsonian's Emerging Leaders Development Program. Before coming to the Smithsonian, she was principal of the company Curator-at-Large, LLC, and was an adjunct professor of museum studies at Johns Hopkins University and of art history at The American University. She has also been curator and department head of European Art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and a research associate at the National Gallery of Art. Coyle holds a BA in government from Georgetown University, an MA in art history from Williams College, and a PhD in art history from Princeton University.


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, 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 is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open daily in July and August, 10 am to 5 pm; open September through June, 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. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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