Batter Up! Free Exhibition Softball Game on August 10 Pits Williamstown and Cooperstown Rivals Against One Another

For Immediate Release

July 27, 2006

From high school homecoming games, cross-town Little League, to the Red Sox and the Yankees, great sports rivalries are part of the fabric of our community. On Thursday, August 10 from 10 am to noon, at Mt. Greylock High School in Williamstown, MA, a new rivalry will be born: the Sterlings (staff from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute) versus the Stephens (the mighty museums of Cooperstown, NY – the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, and Farmers’ Museum). The free, five-inning softball game is one of many events celebrating the Clark’s summer exhibition, The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings which explores the collecting and sibling rivalry of Sterling Clark and Stephen Clark. This game, a symbolic reunion of the rival brothers, is sure to be fun for the entire family. Originally planned for June 4, the game had to be rescheduled due to field conditions.

The Cooperstown/Williamstown rivalry is heightened by the recent discovery of historic documents that reveal baseball was played in Pittsfield (20 miles south of Williamstown) as early as 1791, some 48 years before Abner Doubleday is said to have first played the game in Cooperstown.

Old-fashioned baseball food, games, and a trivia contest will add to the competition on the field. Between innings, spectators’ knowledge of the Clark family and their museums will be tested and prizes will be awarded to the lucky winners. Fay Vincent, former commissioner of Major League Baseball, will throw out the first pitch. At the conclusion of the game, Jane Forbes Clark, granddaughter of Stephen Clark and chairman of the board of trustees of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, will present to the victors the newly created Clark Cup, a symbol of the resolution to the brothers’ long conflict. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Sterling and Stephen were heirs to the Singer Sewing fortune and spent most of their youth in New York City and Cooperstown, NY. Early in their collecting they often consulted one another and sought out works together, but in the 1920s disagreements over the family estate caused a permanent rift between the brothers and they never spoke again. Stephen’s ties to Cooperstown were strong and he was instrumental in the founding of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, and Farmers’ Museum. Stephen was also a founding board member of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Sterling chose Williamstown, home of his grandfather’s alma mater Williams College, as the location for his museum.

Featuring close to 70 paintings, The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings is the first exhibition to unite the masterpieces collected by Sterling – works by Renoir, Monet, Degas, Homer and Sargent, and more – with those collected by his brother Stephen, including paintings by Cézanne, Hopper, 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.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open daily 10 am to 5 pm (closed Mondays from September to June). 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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