“Honorary Member” of the Pissarro Family, Richard R. Brettell, to Present Pissarro’s People: The Making of an Exhibition, a Free Lecture at the Clark

For Immediate Release

July 11, 2011

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—Richard R. Brettell, Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair of Arts & Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas and guest curator of the Pissarro’s People exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will take his audience behind the scenes of the exhibition on Sunday, July 17 at 3:00 pm. In this special free lecture, Brettell will reveal how Pissarro’s People came together. He will share his reasons for choosing the 92 works in the exhibition and discuss the themes closest to the painter’s heart.

Considered an “honorary member” of the Pissarro family, Richard R. Brettell is the leading Pissarro scholar. Many examinations of the “father of Impressionism” have treated the artist’s politics and his art as separate categories; for the exhibition Pissarro’s People, Brettell drew from original research to bridge that gap for the first time. Key to Brettell’s investigation of Pissarro’s humanism is the artist’s identity as a member of a diasporic Sephardic Jewish family—a complex constellation of individuals living and working in Uruguay and Venezuela, France and England, and the United States during the artist’s lifetime. Demonstrating that Pissarro was in every sense a family man, Brettell addresses the artist’s portraits of family members alongside pictures of artists, neighbors, domestic help, rural workers, and various other associates. Linking Pissarro’s web of family and friends to his radical social and economic ideals, the exhibition breaks new ground in reconsidering the artist’s figural works.

Richard R. Brettell is among the foremost authorities in the world on Impressionism and French Painting of the period 1830–1930. With three degrees from Yale University, he has taught at the University of Texas, Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, Yale University, and Harvard University and is currently Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair in the Interdisciplinary Program in Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has published several books, most recently James Magee –The Hill (2010, Nasher Sculpture Center, Delmonico, Prestel) and From the Private Collections of Texas: European Art, Ancient to Modern (2009, Yale University Press). Brettell has curated numerous exhibitions, including the 2000 exhibition Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1900 for the Clark, the National Gallery, London, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Impression was called “the show of the year” by the London Daily Telegraph and enthusiastically reviewed in the Burlington Magazine, Apollo, The New York Times, Times Literary Supplement, The International Herald Tribune, and all the London dailies.

The Clark presents a new exploration of Impressionist master Camille Pissarro this summer in Pissarro’s People. Bringing together paintings from collections around the world, the exhibition challenges our understanding of the father of Impressionism by focusing on Pissarro's engagement with the human figure in a highly personal and poignant exploration of his humanism. Pissarro’s People is on view at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, from June 12 to October 2. This exhibition was organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is $15 June 1 through October 31. Admission is free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit clarkart.edu.

Calendar Listing

July 17: Richard R. Brettell, Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair of Arts & Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas and guest curator of the Pissarro’s People exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will take his audience behind the scenes of the exhibition on Sunday, July 17 at 3:00 pm. In this special free lecture, Brettell will reveal how Pissarro’s People came together. He will share his reasons for choosing the 92 works in the exhibition and discuss the themes closest to the painter’s heart.

Contact: 
pr@clarkart.edu

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