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Impressionist Masterpieces Coming to the Kimbell in 2012

by Jerome Weeks 26 Jan 2011 5:48 AM

It’s the Kimbell and Impressionism – again. Next year, the Kimbell will be the only US stop for a sizable collection of late-19th century European paintings that are going on a world tour – 73 works by the likes of Degas, Monet, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, all from Massachusetts’ Clark Art Institute.


Pierre-Auguste Renoir, A Box at the Theater (At the Concert), oil on canvas, 1880

Next year, the Kimbell Museum will be the only US stop on a world tour of a sizable collection of late-19th century European paintings. The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., is undergoing “campus expansion” — which is why it’s sending out 73 paintings by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Berthe Morisot, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and other luminaries from the period.

The Kimbell exhibition, The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark, opens March 4, 2012.

Yes, it’s the Impressionists (and post-Impressionists) at the Kimbell — together again. Starting in 1994, with the record-breaking visit of the Barnes Collection to Fort Worth, this will be the eighth Impressionist exhibition the Kimbell has hosted in 18 years. No other historical period or artistic style comes close to that number of shows.

The international tour begins in Milan in March this year then goes to Giverny (France) and Barcelona — after which, it comes to the Kimbell March 4-June 17, 2012. Then it returns to Europe via London, then goes to Montreal and in the next year, it visits Japan and China (the exact dates and locations in China and Japan are TBA).

The announcement is being made today by the Clark’s director, Michael Conforti, at a press conference and a panel discussion in Madrid — where the Clark has had a collaborative relationship with the Prado, including a current Renoir exhibition, Spain’s first.

As always, here’s the full release:


Works to Travel to Leading Museums in Milan, Giverny, Barcelona in 2011, Fort Worth, London, and Montreal in 2012, Japan and China in 2013-2014

Tour Announcement Press Conference and Panel Discussion January 26 in Madrid

For Immediate Release

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Continuing its commitment to global outreach and cultural exchange, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will tour masterpieces from its collection of nineteenth-century European paintings to leading museums around the world beginning this spring.

The Clark’s first-ever international tour of masterpieces from its collection will include many of the greatest works from its extraordinary holdings of French Impressionism and European paintings. The exhibition features 73 paintings, including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, and Camille Pissarro, as well as by Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Paul Gauguin, Jean-François Millet, Alfred Sisley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jean-Léon Gérôme.

“As we embark on this exciting three-year tour, the Clark is delighted to have this unprecedented opportunity to share some of its best-known and most beloved works with a broader global audience,” said Director Michael Conforti. “It is our hope that this exhibition of the best of the Clark’s famous nineteenth century painting collection will encourage the cross-cultural exchange of new ideas and the discovery of common ground, paving the way to greater mutual understanding and cooperation through the arts.”

The tour will launch in Milan, on March 2 at the Palazzo Reale, and remain open through June 19. The works will then move to the Musée des impressionnismes in Giverny, France, where they will be on view from July 13 through October 31; followed by an exhibition at CaixaForum in Barcelona from November 18 through February 12, 2012. Venues in 2012 will include the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas from March 4 to June 17, 2012; the Royal Academy of Arts in London from July 7 to September 23, 2012; and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in Canada from October 8, 2012 to January 20, 2013. In 2013, the exhibition will move on to venues in Japan and China.

The timing of the international tour coincides with the Clark’s preparations to launch the next phase of its campus expansion program and presents an ideal opportunity to share these works with a worldwide audience.

The Barcelona venue will mark the third Clark exhibition in Spain in a year. In October 2010, the critically acclaimed Picasso davant Degas opened at the Museu Picasso, Barcelona after its successful presentation at the Clark in the summer of 2010. The exhibition was the result of a five-year collaboration between the two museums. At the same time, the Clark and the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid collaborated on Spain’s first monographic presentation of works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in Pasión por Renoir: la colección del Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. In 2014, the Prado-Clark cultural exchange continues when an exhibition focused on nudes from the Prado’s collection of masterworks opens in Williamstown.

On January 26, the Clark’s international tour will be officially announced at a press conference and panel discussion in Madrid, where the Renoir exhibition remains on view at the Prado through February 13, 2011. The panel will include dignitaries and museum leaders from several of the participating institutions, including: Richard Rand, Senior Curator and Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and Tom Loughman, Assistant Deputy Director, from the Clark; Domenico Piraina, Director of the Palazzo Reale, Diego Candil, Director of the Musée des impressionnismes; Isabel Salgado, Cultural Subdirector of “la Caixa” Foundation; and Margaret Rennolds Chace, Associate Publisher, Skira Rizzoli, among others.

A catalogue to accompany the exhibition, Great French Paintings from the Clark, will be published by Skira Rizzoli in spring 2011, with editions in at least five languages. The 240-page publication, available in hardcover, features 131 color illustrations accompanied by essays by James A. Ganz and Richard R. Brettell.

Tour Schedule

The tour schedule to date is:

–  Impressionisti. Capolavori della Collezione Clark, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy, March 2-June 19, 2011

–  La Collection Clark a Giverny, de Manet a Renoir, Musée des impressionnismes, Giverny, France, July 13-October 31, 2011

–  Maestros franceses de la Colección Clark. De las escuela de Barbizon al impresionismo, CaixaForum Barcelona, Spain, November 18, 2011-February 12, 2012

The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, March 4-June 17, 2012

Great French Paintings from the Clark, Royal Academy of Arts, London, July 7 – September 23, 2012

–  A History of Impressionism. Great French Paintings from the Clark, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada, October 8, 2012 – January 20, 2013

– Japan and China venues to be announced

The Clark Collection

Sterling and Francine Clark acquired most of the paintings which form the basis of the Clark’s collection. From the 1910s until the 1950s, the Clarks assembled an outstanding collection of European and American paintings, sculpture, and drawings, as well as British silver and European porcelain. The Clark is best known for its collection of French Impressionist paintings, including more than 30 works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which take their place within a wider ensemble of masterworks that date from the Renaissance to the end of the nineteenth century. Although the collection has expanded greatly since the opening of the Clark in 1955, including a growing collection of early photography, the scope and character continues to represent the taste and interests of the founders.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

The Clark is one of the few major art museums that also serves as a leading international center for research and scholarship. The Clark presents public and education programs and organizes groundbreaking exhibitions that advance new scholarship, and its research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and conferences. Its 140-acre campus in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts includes Stone Hill Center, designed by Tadao Ando and opened in 2008, which houses galleries, meeting and classroom facilities, and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. The Clark, together with Williams College, America’s foremost liberal arts college, sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. Admission is $15 June 1 through October 31. Admission is free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit