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Sterling and Francine Clark at the cornerstone laying ceremony of the Institute, August 27, 1953

About Sterling and Francine Clark

In 1910, after a distinguished career in the United States Army, Sterling Clark settled in Paris and began collecting works of art, an interest he inherited from his parents. When he married Francine Clary in 1919, she joined him in what quickly became a shared passion. Together they created a remarkable collection of paintings, silver, sculpture, porcelain, drawings, and prints with complete reliance on their own judgments and tastes. In 1950 the Clarks founded the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute as a permanent home for their collection, and the museum first opened to the public in 1955. Since its conception, the Institute has had a dual mission as both a museum and a center for research and higher education. It is in this spirit that the Clark has expanded over the last five decades to become the influential institution it is today.