For Immediate Release
January 9, 2023


Williamstown, Massachusetts—On Wednesday, February 1, the Clark Art Institute joins with the Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art to discuss the Institute’s current exhibition, Promenades on Paper: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Focusing on select drawings from the exhibition, curators Esther Bell, Anne Leonard, and Sarah Grandin offer a varied and lively picture of artistic practices in the years leading up to and just after the French Revolution. The virtual talk takes place at 7 pm on Zoom.

Over centuries, the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) has sought to assemble the most complete holdings of textual and visual sources in France. The works on display at the Clark constitute the first public exhibition ever presented of the BnF’s eighteenth-century drawings collection and span subject areas including natural history, current events, design, landscape, portraiture, and much more. Running throughout the exhibition is the theme of the promenade, or stroll, centered on the experience of an individual beholder. In the eighteenth century, the public promenade emerged as a site of urban leisure in which a blend of social classes could engage in the pleasures of spectatorship. The activities of walking, looking, and sketching were closely related and often intertwined. 

Free. Presented as part of the AHNCA/Dahesh Virtual Salon series. Advance registration for the Zoom transmission is required. Registrants will receive a private Zoom link via email prior to the event. For more information and to register, visit

Promenades on Paper: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France is co-organized by the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. It is curated by Esther Bell, Deputy Director and Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Chief Curator; Sarah Grandin, Clark-Getty Curatorial Fellow; and Anne Leonard, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from the Clark, and by Corinne Le Bitouzé, Conservateur général; Pauline Chougnet, Conservateur en charge des dessins; and Chloé Perrot, Conservateur des bibliothèques from the Bibliothèque nationale.

This exhibition is made possible by Jessie and Charles Price. Major funding is provided by Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie Eveillard, the Getty Foundation through its Paper Project initiative, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The exhibition catalogue is made possible by Denise Littlefield Sobel.

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 285,000 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, which has a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide, is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Its 140-acre campus includes miles of hiking and walking trails through woodlands and meadows, providing an exceptional experience of art in nature. Galleries are open 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday, from September through June, and daily in July and August. Admission is free January through March and is $20 from March through December; admission is free year-round for Clark members, all visitors age 21 and under, and students with a valid student ID. Free admission is also available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; and EBT Card to Culture. For information on these programs and more, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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