Once-Reviled Courbet Masterpiece the Focus of August 28 Lecture

For Immediate Release

August 16, 2004

Derided in 1853 for "vulgarity and uselessness," the painting The Bathers by Gustave Courbet is now considered an icon of 19th-century art. This once-shocking masterpiece is the topic of a public lecture at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Saturday, August 28, at 2 p.m. Richard Rand, senior curator, will discuss the painting in the final lecture of the series "Masterpieces in Focus." The painting is on view at the Clark in the special exhibition "Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet!": The Bruyas Collection from the Musée Fabre, Montpellier, through September 6. Admission to the lecture is free.

Richard Rand is senior curator and curator of paintings and sculpture at the Clark. A specialist in French art of the 18th and 19th centuries, Rand has lectured and published widely on the 18th-century French painting and drawing, 19th-century French painting, and 18th-century British printmaking. He has organized and co-organized numerous exhibitions, including Intimate Encounters: Love and Domesticity in 18th-Century France, Jean-Francois Millet: Drawn into the Light, and Turner: The Late Seascapes.

"Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet!" features masterpieces by Gustave Courbet, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Camille Corot, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Alexandre Cabanel, and others. The show highlights some of the most influential images of 19th-century French painting, including the famous title painting by Courbet.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Gallery admission is $10 (members, students, and 18 and under free). For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu/exhibitions/bruyas.

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