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The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings on View at the Clark from June 24 to September 16, 2007

For Immediate Release

May 01, 2007

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA –Claude Monet, one of the world’s most well-known and favorite artists, is the subject of a major exhibition this summer at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings, however, is not your typical Monet exhibition. Utilizing largely unknown and rarely exhibited works, the exhibition exposes Monet’s hidden life as a youthful caricaturist, masterful draftsman, and skilled pastel artist. This first exhibition to focus on Monet’s works on paper and the role of drawing in his painting will be presented at the Clark from June 24 through September 16, 2007.

Comprised of nearly 100 works, including over twenty pastels, three-dozen drawings, and fourteen paintings, The Unknown Monet provides a revolutionary new interpretation of the artist’s life and work. “A profoundly original exhibition… that transforms our understanding of how Monet worked,” said Richard Dorment of the Daily Telegraph, London.

Monet’s reputation, that of Impressionist painter par excellence, was one that he cultivated by talking at length to journalists about his original working practices. These descriptions do not include references to drawing or the use of sketchbooks, yet we now know that Monet relied on these methods for independent works as well as part of his painting process. The Unknown Monet gives voice to his hidden talents by presenting a significant body of pastels, finished drawings, and studies in relation to his more familiar paintings.

The Unknown Monet surveys the artist’s entire career beginning with young Oscar’s (as Claude was then known) first commissions—caricatures of local residents from his home of Le Havre—to his mastery of pastel as shown in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, through his use of sketch books in the creation of the Nymphéas, or water lily paintings that absorbed the artist’s attention at the end of his life.

The Unknown Monet is organized by the Clark in association with the Royal Academy of Arts, London. It is curated by James A. Ganz, curator of prints, drawings, and photographs, and Richard Kendall, curator at large, both at the Clark. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. The project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Lead sponsorship is provided by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by Faber-Castell.

The Clark
The Clark's exceptional collections of Old Master, Impressionist, and 19th-century American art on display in the museum's intimate galleries are enhanced by the beauty of its setting in the Berkshires. The Clark is surrounding by 140 acres of expansive lawns, meadows, and walking trails. Views from the galleries include the surrounding woods and fields, adjacent farm pastures, and a nearby pond. Walking trails wind through the property, including trails up historic Stone Hill, which offers a spectacular view of Williamstown and the Green Mountains of Vermont to the north.

The Clark is located on South Street, one-half mile south of the junction of routes 2 and 7 in the center of Williamstown, MA. The Clark is about three hours by car from Boston and New York City and about one hour from Lenox, MA, and Albany, NY. 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 $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

The Berkshires is a center of creative energy and innovation for artists at the height of their craft. For over a century artistic legends have been drawn to this bucolic region of western New England in search of inspiration in the region’s rolling hills. The Berkshires are home to a wealth of cultural institutions that in addition to the Clark include: Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Norman Rockwell Museum, MASS MoCA, Williams College Museum of Art, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, among many others.

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