Clark's Summer 2001 Season Brings London's

For Immediate Release

May 21, 2001

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA (May 11, 2001) - Hailed as "the show of year" by London critics last fall, the much-anticipated Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890 will be at the center of the Clark Art Institute's summer 2001 season. The exhibition, the most ambitious undertaken by the Clark to date, will bring together nearly eighty Impressionist paintings from thirty seven museums and seven private collections in ten countries. Thirteen of the paintings have never before been seen in the United States. In celebration of this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, the Clark will open the show to the local community for free previews the week of June 10 and present a variety of public programs ranging from lectures and gallery talks to films and concerts. One of the highlights of the summer will be the "Impressions of Paris" family day on August 12, for which the Clark's south lawn will transform into a Parisian street for a day of activities and entertainment.

Impression will be view June 17 through September 9. The Clark is the only North American venue for the show, which was earlier seen at the National Gallery of London and the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. To ensure the most comfortable experience for the maximum number of visitors, the Clark has instituted a timed-entry ticket system, with entry on the half hour, to spread crowds evenly throughout the day. The Clark has also extended its operating hours for the summer to include evening hours (until 7 p.m.) on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The exhibition will occupy five galleries on two floors, and the Impression experience will extend beyond galleries to create a festival atmosphere that surrounds visitors from the moment they first enter the Clark grounds. All visitors will be directed to the West Entrance where a large tent will lead them into the courtyard with an alley of trees and benches recreating the feeling of a Paris street. A fifteen-minute introductory video will be shown continuously in the auditorium. The Clark's Courtyard Café, which serves coffee and pastries, will be moved into an introductory room where ticket holders may wait while reading information about the show.

Free Community Previews

While Impression is sure to be a destination for tourists, the Clark encourages area residents to take advantage of this rare opportunity to see these paintings by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, Morisot, and Van Gogh. For one week prior to the opening of Impression, the Clark invites area residents to preview the exhibition free of charge. The Community Week will begin with members day on Sunday, June 10, open to all members of Friends of the Clark. Monday, June 11, will be free for residents of Pittsfield and the surrounding areas. Northern Berkshire Day, Tuesday, June 12, will encompass the North Adams/Adams/Cheshire region. South Berkshire County Day will be Wednesday, June 13. Thursday, June 14, will be free for residents of Bennington Country, Vermont. On Friday, June 15, residents of Columbia and Rensselear counties in New York will be admitted free. Saturday, June 16, will be Williamstown day. For details on specific towns and other activities planned that week, visit the website or call 413-458-2303, extension 512. The Community Preview Week is made possible in part by New England Newspapers, Inc., owners of The Berkshire Eagle, North Adams Transcript, and Bennington Banner, and by Berkshire Broadcasting stations AM 1230 WNAW, FM 100.1 WMNB, and AM 860 WSBS.

Once the exhibition opens officially on Sunday, June 17, adult admission to Impression is $10, which includes admission to the permanent collection galleries. Children and students are admitted free. Tickets are now on sale at the Clark. Visitors may also purchase tickets by phone by calling (toll-free) 1-866-THE-CLARK , or online at Advance ticket reservations are recommended.

Lectures and Gallery Talks

Visitors will have several opportunities to learn more about Impression. On Sunday, June 10, at 3:00 p.m., guest curator and catalogue author Richard R. Brettell will give an introductory lecture. John House, professor of art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, will speak on the themes of the exhibition on Sunday, July 29, at 5:30 p.m. Throughout the week of July 30, leading authorities on Impressionism will convene to discuss and debate issues of Impressionist practice, technique, and interpretation raised by the exhibition Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890. Members and the public will have several opportunities to participate. Monday through Thursday at 5:30 p.m., pairs of scholars will recap the day's closed session in a series of public conversations. On Saturday, August 4, the Clark will offer an afternoon symposium intended for general audiences.

The Clark's monthly lunchtime lecture series "Desert Island Pictures" has become so popular that, throughout the summer, it will be offered weekly. Every Thursday at 12:30 p.m., Clark curators and other guest speakers will discuss works of art that "they would take with them to a desert island." In honor of Impression, the series will focus on paintings that were either "painted quickly," such as Renoir's Bay of Naples, or "painted slowly," such as Bouguereau's Nymphs and Satyr. Talks are free with gallery admission.

Family Programs

On Sunday, June 17, at 3:00 p.m., curator of education Michael Cassin will give a talk on "Father Figures at the Clark," in celebration of Father's Day. Any father who brings his children to the Clark on Father's Day will receive a free coffee and pastry.

The Clark grounds will be transformed into a Parisian street scene-complete with the "Eiffel Tower"--for the "Impressions of Paris" family day on Sunday, August 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entertainment will include marionettes, roving accordion players, human-size chess games, and a period fashion show. Vendors will offer French food as well as "kid-friendly" fare. Other activities will include art-making, a carousel, and carriage rides. Admission is free.

Children eighteen and under are admitted free to Impression all summer long. A free family activity guide is available at the information desk.


The Clark's annual tradition of free summer band concerts attracts thousands of children and adults to the South Lawn, which fills with blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics on Tuesday evenings in July. This year's band concert series begins with a program of patriotic music by the Paragon Brass Quintet on July 3, followed by performances by the Eagles Band of Pittsfield on July 10, Skip Parsons's Riverboat Dixieland Jazz Band on July 17, and the Mark Erelli Band on July 24. All band concerts begin at 6:00 p.m. All children receive free balloons.

Every year, Williamstown Chamber Concerts presents a series of acclaimed music programs in the Clark auditorium on Tuesdays in August at 8 p.m.. This year, in honor of Impression, each ensemble in the series will perform at least one piece by a French composer. Scheduled performers are the trio of Lydia Artimiw, piano, Ethan Sloane, clarinet, and Jules Eskin, cello (August 7), the Adaskin String Trio with Stella Simakova, piano (August 14), the Shanghai Quartet (August 21) and the Chicago String Quartet with Laura Gilbert, flute (August 28). For tickets or more information, contact Williamstown Chamber Concerts at 413-458-8273.

Film Series

Like Impressionist painting, the French New Wave film movement began as an insurgency against an established studio style but became widely influential and popular. The Clark will offer the film series "New Wave Impressions: French Film in the Sixties" every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. from June 21 through August 30. Among the directors featured are François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Louis Malle. All films are free.

Visitor Information

The Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. From June 17 through September 9, the galleries are open every day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Clark Museum Shop, Café, and Courtyard Café are open during gallery hours. The galleries are fully accessible. The grounds of the Clark are always open to the public and feature picnic facilities, nature trails, and gardens.

To receive a detailed schedule of summer programs, call 413-458-2303, extension 512.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit

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