Reading Group Delves Into Toulouse-Lautrec and Sterling Clark’s Paris

For Immediate Release

January 12, 2009

Delve into a selection of books—including some from Sterling Clark’s personal collection—focused on Belle Epoque Paris and the cultural milieu in which the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and, later, Sterling Clark participated, during a month-long reading group at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Librarians Valerie Krall and Christopher Geissler will lead “The Literary Flaneur: Belle Epoque Paris in the Reading Library of Sterling Clark” on Wednesdays, February 4, 11, 18, and 25, at 7 pm. There is a $10 fee for the course. Space is limited. Call 413-458-0524 to register (required).

Participants should prepare for the first meeting by reading Julia Frey’s biography of the artist, copies of which are available for participants. Subsequent evenings will examine ideas raised in Gale Murray’s Toulouse-Lautrec: The Formative Years; David Sweetman’s Explosive Acts: Toulouse-Lautrec, Oscar Wilde, Felix Feneon and the Art & Anarchy of the Fin de Siècle; and Jean-Bernard Naudin’s Toulouse-Lautrec's Table. These readings will highlight the cultural and social history of fin-de-siècle Paris focusing on the popular culture of the theater and streets, sporting, and cuisine. Selections from these and other texts will be made available in reading packets. Discussions will be enhanced by perusal of a variety of items from Clark’s own library.

Vibrant and racy Parisian nightlife of the late nineteenth century will be on view at the Clark this winter. Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris, an exhibition of over eighty remarkable oil paintings, posters, photographs, drawings, and lithographs, marks the first time in over fifteen years that the Clark will show nearly its entire extraordinary collection of works by the great French painter and printmaker Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901). Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris will revel in Montmartre’s raucous streets, cabarets, theaters, and circuses—venues frequented by modern artists seeking inspiration from the world of entertainment at the turn of the century. The exhibition will showcase Toulouse-Lautrec’s magnificent capacity for both quiet intimacy and theatrical flair in a variety of media. Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris will be on view February 1 through April 26, 2009.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November 1 through May 31. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit


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