“Monet and the Pastel Tradition” Lecture August 12 at the Clark

For Immediate Release

July 26, 2007

Claude Monet’s visually dazzling and revealing pastels are currently on view in The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings. On Sunday, August 12 at 2 pm, the Clark's curator of education Michael Cassin will discuss the pastel tradition and look at how Monet and his contemporaries developed the art of pastel painting in new and exciting ways. The lecture, the first in a three part series on Claude Monet, is free.

The art of painting in pastels has a long and distinguished history. Artists like Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Maurice-Quentin de La Tour made pastel portraits in the eighteenth century, and in the nineteenth century Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt were also accomplished pastellists. Monet included several pastels alongside his oil paintings in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, establishing himself as the leading pastellist of a circle that included Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He made use of the medium again in a spectacular series of images of the River Thames in 1901, several of which can be seen in The Unknown Monet.

The Unknown Monet 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. Of the over 20 pastels included in The Unknown Monet, few have been included in modern retrospectives of the artist’s work. Color-saturated finished pastels of Normandy landscapes and seascapes, including views of the dramatic cliffs of Étretat and studies of clouds, demonstrate Monet’s mastery of the medium and illustrate how he used the graphic energy of pastels to bridge the divide between line and color.

This groundbreaking exhibition, containing the first significant concentration of Monet’s pastels to be exhibited together since the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, also includes three-dozen drawings and fourteen paintings. An innovative, searchable database and series of computer kiosks allow for unprecedented access to Monet’s eight existing sketchbooks from the Musée Marmottan. This exhibition is on view through September 16.

“Monet and the Pastel Tradition” is the first in a series of three revealing lectures on Monet. On August 19 at 2 pm, associate curator of European art Sarah Lees will take the audience on a visual tour of one of art’s most famous backyards during “Monet at Giverny.” Assistant curator of education Danielle Steinmann will cut through the fog of time to expose Monet’s visions of “Monet’s London” on August 26 at 2 pm.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA. The galleries are open daily in July and August, 10 am to 5 pm (open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm September through June). Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and under, 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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