The Collections of the Clark Brothers Come Alive During Sunday Lecture Series at the Clark

For Immediate Release

June 19, 2006

Unparalleled masterpieces, passionate art collecting, sibling rivalry, and museum patronage headline the current exhibition The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. In a series of four free lectures, on July 2, July 16, August 6, and August 20, at 2 pm, the characters of brothers Sterling Clark and Stephen Clark, and their accomplishments as collectors, come alive. The series begins on Sunday, July 2 with the Clark's curator of education Michael Cassin exploring Renoir's popularity with American collectors in general and the acquisitions made by the Clark brothers in particular during “Sterling Clark Collects Renoir and the Impressionists.”

“People are crazy about Renoir,” Sterling Clark commented in his diary. During the 1920s and ‘30s, paintings by Renoir were avidly purchased by many of the most discerning collectors in America. In total, Sterling and his wife Francine acquired over 30 oil paintings by the artist, some of which are among the most recognizable and popular works in the Clark's permanent collection. Sterling Clark's younger brother, Stephen, also collected paintings by Renoir. Nine Renoirs owned by Sterling are included in The Clark Brothers Collect exhibition making for an interesting contrast to the four once owned by Stephen included in the exhibition.

Sterling and Stephen assembled impressive collections of both European and American art, and although they often purchased works by the same artists, the character of their collections differed significantly. Each of these four lectures will focus on one aspect of either Sterling or Stephen Clark’s collections. Together, the four lectures will provide deeper insight into the similarities and differences between the collecting interests and intentions of the brothers. Individually, the lectures will showcase the masterworks purchased by these two connoisseurs.

The remaining lectures in the series include “Stephen Clark Collects Van Gogh to Matisse” by Sarah Lees, the Clark’s associate curator of European Art on July 16; “Stephen Clark Collects Eakins to Hopper” by Brian T. Allen, the Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover MA, on August 6; and “Sterling Clark Collects Sargent to Homer” by Marc Simpson, the Clark’s curator of American Art on August 20.

Featuring over 70 paintings, The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings is 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. The exhibition examines 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 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


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