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Delacroix and the Horse Opens June 24 at the Clark

For Immediate Release

June 15, 2006

The special installation Delacroix and the Horse will feature a new acquisition, Two Horses Fighting in a Stormy Landscape by the great French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix. The installation, which includes a selection of drawings and prints of horses by Delacroix, Degas, and other 19th-century French artists, opens Saturday, June 24 and is on view through September 17.

In addition to showcasing Two Horses Fighting, the installation will include prints, drawings, and sculptures of horses by 19th century French artists from the Clark’s collection and one work from the collection of the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA). Featuring Delacroix most prominently, the installation includes two of his works on paper selected from the Clark’s collection of 22 prints and drawings by this artist. Delacroix’s Studies of Horses and Lion Eating a Horse are joined by WCMA’s Sheet of Studies.

A significant number of works by Edgar Degas include the pastels Jockey on a Rearing Horse, Racehorse, and Two Horses, One Nuzzling the Other, and the bronzes Rearing Horse and Horse Standing. Other works in the installation include two lithographs, A French Farrier and Mameluck Defending a Wounded Trumpeter by
Theodore Géricault, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s color lithograph, The Jockey.

“Equestrian subjects were of great interest to Sterling Clark,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “Two Horses Fighting complements the Clark’s great horse scenes by Theodore Géricault, Edgar Degas, and others.”

The Clark acquired Two Horses Fighting in a Stormy Landscape, an oil on canvas, in early 2006. It was offered by the direct descendents of the family who purchased the painting at auction in 1864. Two Horses Fighting, painted around 1828, was kept in Delacroix’s personal collection until the time of his death. The auction sticker, with the number 81, is still affixed to the upper left of the canvas. The painting’s scale and brushy execution underscore the distinct qualities of Delacroix’s work and offer insight into his working process. Though intimate in scale, this visually powerful work adds a new dimension to the Clark’s distinguished collection of 19th-century French art.

The painting was lightly cleaned recently at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. Discolored varnish and decades of accumulated grime were removed, revealing once again the painting's original bold palette and rich brushwork.

An aficionado of racehorses, Sterling Clark established thoroughbred farms in Normandy and Virginia, where he bred “Never Say Die,” his champion three year old and winner of the 1954 Derby of Epsom Downs, Britain’s premier race. Works of art featuring horses by George Stubbs, John Ferneley, Alfred Munnings, and Ben Marshall, once owned by members of the Clark family, are on view during The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, which explores the collecting of the great 20th-century art patrons Sterling Clark and Stephen Clark. The Clark Brothers Collect, on view through September 4, is the first to unite the masterpieces collected by Sterling - works by Renoir, Monet, Homer, Sargent, and more - with those collected by his brother Stephen, including paintings by Hopper, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Cézanne.

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 June 1 through October 31 is $10 for adults, 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 www.clarkart.edu.

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