Manton Study Center for Works on Paper

The collection of works on paper can be visited by the general public in our newly renovated Manton Study Center for Works on Paper, due to open in early 2015. For more information on the collection, please call 413 458 0560 or complete this form

The Clark's collection of more than six thousand prints, drawings, and photographs spans the history of the graphic arts from the fifteenth century through the early twentieth century. The collection includes significant concentrations of work by Albrecht Dürer, Claude Lorraine, John Constable, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, and Winslow Homer. The Clark's small but important group of pastels by Degas, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, and Jean-François Millet are also housed in the department.
 
In 1998 the Clark began a major initiative to establish a core collection of European and American photography from the 1840s through the 1910s. The collection now numbers more than one thousand works, including important photographs by Eugène Atget, Édouard Baldus, Julia Margaret Cameron, Francis Frith, Gustave Le Gray, Nadar, William Henry Fox Talbot, Alfred Stieglitz, Linneaus Tripe, and Carleton Watkins.

Collection Activity

The Clark Art Institute continues to build and shape its collection to realize more fully and effectively its mission. To view recent acquisitions and deaccessions from the Clark's collection, click here.

Gift of Winslow Homer Portrait Announced

Winslow Homer, Charles Prentice Howland, Clark Art Institute
The Clark recently received the gift of a significant, rare commissioned portrait by Winslow Homer. Charles Prentice Howland (1878), an oil painting that has never been publicly exhibited, was donated to the Clark by the sitter’s granddaughter Susan Montgomery Howell. The painting, which had remained with the family since 1878, is on view in the Clark’s galleries.
 
The painting, was donated by Susan Montgomery Howell in memory of her mother Esther Howland Montgomery and her uncles Henry and David Howland. Howell cites the Clark’s dual role as a museum and center for research and education as an important factor in choosing the Institute to receive the painting. “I am gratified that this unusual portrait adds another dimension to the Clark’s rich holdings of works by Winslow Homer,” Howell said. “I am thrilled that the painting will be available to researchers and on view for the Clark’s many visitors to enjoy.
 
In the portrait, Winslow Homer paints the nine-year-old Charles Howland somberly dressed for school, standing stiffly and perhaps impatiently as he poses for the artist. He holds a tasseled hat in his right hand and carries a book bag over his shoulder; his black jacket, knee breeches, and laced boots provide a stark contrast to his white collar and red tie. Homer focuses on the boy’s sharply illuminated face, which he paints with characteristic subtlety and economy, placing the figure against a plain background. During the 1870s Homer often painted and drew children, most often as anonymous boys and girls playing, lounging, or engaged in chores. Such endearing subjects offered audiences a positive image of American youth in the difficult years following the Civil War.
 
This painting is unusual in being a commissioned portrait, a genre in which Homer rarely engaged. It undoubtedly resulted from the artist’s long friendship with the boy’s father Henry, a prominent New York judge, and the boy’s uncle, the artist Alfred Howland, both of whom Homer had befriended in Boston in the mid-1850s. In 1860 Homer made bust portraits in watercolor of both Henry and Alfred. Charles Prentice Howland (1869–1932) attended Harvard and Yale universities and became a prominent lawyer in New York. He was also a diplomat, serving on advisory councils for the League of Nations and the Council on Foreign Relations.  He died unexpectedly in 1932 when he was struck by a vehicle after leaving a Yale football game.

The Manton Collection of British Art

The Manton Collection of British art includes more than three hundred paintings, drawings, and prints by Gainsborough, Constable, Turner, and others. The collection was created by business leader and arts patron Sir Edwin A. G. Manton (1909–2005) and his wife Florence, Lady Manton (1911–2003). Born in Essex County, just twenty miles from “Constable Country” in the east of England, Sir Edwin arrived in New York in 1933 to help develop the American International Group. He spent the remainder of his life in the United States, though his love of British art, which he began collecting with his wife in the 1940s, was testimony to his continued devotion to his native country.
 
Sir Edwin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1994 for his generous contributions to the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) in London. Throughout his life, his appetite for art collecting never diminished. “I am a compulsive buyer,” he once observed. “It's better than spending your money on bottles of Scotch.” This magnificent collection, a gift from the Manton Foundation in 2007, constitutes the most significant addition of art to the Clark since it was founded in 1955, and perfectly complements the Clark’s holdings of nineteenth-century French and American art.

PROVENANCE RESEARCH PROJECT

The history of ownership and collecting is intimately connected with the history of art and is taken especially seriously by museums based upon private collections, such as the Clark. The Clark has focused its provenance examination on paintings purchased by Sterling and Francine Clark, the Institute, and other Institute donors from 1933 to the present, with special emphasis on those paintings that might have changed ownership between 1933 and 1945. Researchers continue to gather all available provenance information on the Clark's collection, including European paintings. 

For more information click here.

BROWSE COLLECTIONS

Multimedia Guide

About the Clark’s Collections

The collection of the Clark Art Institute features European and American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. The collection is especially rich in French Impressionist and Academic paintings, British oil sketches, drawings, and silver, and the work of American artists Winslow Homer, George Inness, and John Singer Sargent. Based on the founding gift from Sterling and Francine Clark, the collection has expanded over the years through numerous acquisitions as well as significant gifts and bequests, including the gift of the Sir Edwin and Lady Manton Collection of British Art and the gift of paintings by George Inness by Frank and Katherine Martucci.