Opening Lecture on June 4 for The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings Provides the Behind the Scenes Story of the Two Influential Brothers

For Immediate Release

May 19, 2006

In celebration of the opening of the summer exhibition The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Director Michael Conforti will provide an overview of the fascinating stories of Sterling and Stephen Clark, their family history and relationship, their collections, and the museums they founded and/or patronized. This free lecture, “Art and Patronage: The Sterling and Stephen Clark Story” will take place at the Clark on the opening day of the exhibition, Sunday, June 4 at 2 pm.

Featuring close to 70 paintings, The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings will be the first exhibition to unite the masterpieces collected by Sterling Clark – works by Renoir, Monet, Homer and Sargent, and more – with those collected by his brother Stephen Clark, including paintings by Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. Heirs to the Singer Sewing machine family fortune, the brothers were very close in their early years, and even spoke of forming a museum together, but a fight over the dispersion of a family trust lead to a break in 1923 and the two brothers never spoke to one another again.

The exhibition will examine the brothers’ collecting and how they helped to define the changing taste for Impressionist and Early Modern art in the first half of the 20th century. It will explore their relationship, their rivalry, and the influential but ultimately divergent roles they came to play in the arts in the United States.

The Clark Brothers Collect is the perfect culmination of the Clark’s 50th anniversary celebration,” said Conforti. “The exhibition brings into sharp focus each brother’s rich and distinct legacy while highlighting the foundation upon which the Clark has flourished. It also presents two different approaches to institution-building that are still relevant for American collectors and museums today.”

The Clark Brothers Collect will be the first exhibition to reunite and explore Stephen’s collection, whose European and American Modernist masterpieces form key holdings of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Addison Gallery of American Art at Andover. It will also provide new insight into Sterling’s collecting, which is noted for its Impressionist and French Academic masterpieces and serves as the foundation of the Clark.

The exhibition was organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Following its premiere at the Clark, the exhibition will be presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 22 to August 19, 2007.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $10 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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