The Art, Philanthropy, and Rivalry of the Clark Brothers Revealed During Art and Patronage at the Mahaiwe on July 13

For Immediate Release

June 22, 2006

On Thursday, July 13 at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, join Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Director Michael Conforti for a free “behind-the-scenes” glimpse into the lives of the Clark brothers - Sterling and Stephen. The Clark’s recent research in anticipation of its current exhibition, The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings,has uncovered never before published accounts of the Clark family. The fascinating stories of the brothers, their family history and relationship, their collections, and the museums they founded and/or patronized, will be revealed at 7 pm during “Art and Patronage: The Sterling and Stephen Clark Story.” The Mahaiwe is located at 14 Castle Street in Great Barrington, MA. For more information, call 413-644-9040.

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.”

Heirs to the Singer Sewing fortune of their grandfather, Edward Clark, Sterling and Stephen were raised in New York City. The brothers’ culturally rich upbringing instilled in them a profound passion for collecting, particularly in the field of 19th century French painting. Early in their collecting they had often consulted one another and sought out works together, however, by the 1920s they were no longer on speaking terms. The brothers remained at odds for most of their lives, until 1952 when the death of Stephen’s son prompted Sterling to contact his brother.

In spite of the brothers’ estrangement, Sterling and Stephen followed paths that were largely parallel. Each a powerful force in the art world of New York, where they made their homes, the brothers had an extraordinary cultural impact – although in very different ways – through their roles as visionary institution-builders and philanthropists. Sterling became the better-known collector founding the Clark in Williamstown in 1955. Stephen, on the other hand, was among the founding trustees of the Museum of Modern Art and was also involved in creating numerous cultural institutions in Cooperstown including the Fenimore Art Museum, The Farmers’ Museum, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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 explores 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 also 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 runs through September 4.

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 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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