Located three hours from both New York and Boston, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA) is both an art museum and a center for academic research in the visual arts. The Clark is best known for its collection of French paintings which take their place within a wider ensemble of European and American masterworks that date from the Renaissance to the end of the nineteenth century. The collection also includes sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts, including silver and porcelain. The Clark is located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, an area that is little known in Japan, but which has a rich history of attracting many of America’s noted artists, writers, and performers to live and work there, drawn to the region by its scenic beauty and rich cultural traditions.
In 2010, as work began on renovations to its museum building and construction of a new facility designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the Clark organized its first-ever international traveling exhibition of its French paintings collection to share its collection with a world-wide audience during a time when its gallery space would be limited. In February 2013, this exhibition will at last arrive in Japan. The exhibition is a treasure chest of art, with 73 miraculous French paintings that have never been seen here before all brought together in a single exhibition. Exhibited works include 22 paintings by Renoir, as well as works by Corot, Millet, Manet, Pissarro, Monet, and others. Please look forward to the fortunate opportunity to see “Feel happiness living your life beautifully” at the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo.
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, generally known as The Clark, is an art museum that was opened in 1955 in Williamstown, Massachusetts in the United States. It contains a wide-ranging collection spanning multiple ages and regions, from old masters of the Italian renaissance such as Piero della Francesca to modern European paintings, as well as porcelain and silver. The more than 30 oil paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir that are part of the collection are an extremely valuable group of works that fans of impressionist works worldwide are dying to see. In addition to Renoir, the collection also boasts astounding quality in its numerous impressionist paintings by Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, and others.
The Clark Collection had previously never been exhibited overseas as a whole since the museum was opened. However, the museum is now undergoing work for renovation and expansion under the direction of architect Tadao Ando, and therefore it was decided to send the collection on a global tour beginning in 2011. It is thanks to these most fortunate of circumstances that the collection will be coming to Japan, for its first ever exhibition in the far east.
This international travelling exhibition which began in 2011 is being shown at renowned art museums visited by art fans from around the world. It has previously been hosted by the Palazzo Reale (Milan), the Musée des impressionnismes, Giverny (Giverny, France), CaixaForum (Barcelona) and the Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, USA), and is being shown at the Royal Academy of Arts (London) through September 2012. This travelling exhibition will at last arrive in Japan in February 2013, where it will be shown first at the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo. It is scheduled for later exhibitions in Kobe, Seoul, and Shanghai. The greatest draw of this exhibition, titled “Great French Paintings from the Clark,” is the opportunity to see 22 Renoir oil paintings. More than half of the 73 paintings in the exhibition have never been shown in Japan before. In addition to Renoir, the other exhibited works are centered on impressionist paintings, and also include works from pre-impressionist artists such as Camille Corot and Jean-François Millet, as well as post-impressionist artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Pierre Bonnard.
The Clark Collection was collected from across Europe and the United States by Robert Sterling Clark and his wife Francine – an actress at the Comédie-Française. Sterling’s grandfather Edward Clark was a New York lawyer who was the business partner of inventor and entrepreneur Isaac Merritt Singer in the Singer sewing machine companyThe revolutionary sewing machine was immensely popular, and the business grew rapidly. Upon his death, Edward Clark’s left a significant portion of his tremendous fortune to his four grandsons – Sterling Clark and his brothers
Sterling Clark graduated from Yale University with an engineering degree. He then took an officer’s commission in the US Army and spent time in both China and the Phillipines during his military service. . In 1910 he moved to Paris, France and soon met and fell in love with the stage actress Francine Clary. Sterling Clark’s parents had a small collection of high-quality traditional paintings, and once he settled in Paris, Sterling began collecting paintings himself to decorate his apartment in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. When he first began collecting in 1911, he gathered works from relatively older periods, such as Renaissance Italian paintings and 17th century Dutch paintings. Eventually, though, he began to focus on more recent paintings, primarily impressionist works. Sterling trusted Francine’s excellent sense of beauty, developed as it was in the culture ofParis, and the two of them became frequent visitors to art galleries, where they selected and bought works together. The couple married in 1919, just after the end of the First World War. By the end of the Second World War in 1945, their collection had grown to more than 500 pieces.
From the beginning, the Clarks gave much thought to the future of their collection. They thought about donating the works which they bought to art museums in the United States, or displaying them at a private museum which they would construct in New York City, the ancestral home of the Clark family. After much consideration, they bought a vast piece of land in the scenic beauty of Williamstown, Massachusetts, and began preparing to build there both an art museum and a center for research and higher education in the visual arts. The Clarks opened their museum in 1955. At present, the vast grounds contain the art museum, a center for visual arts research, an art library, conservation center, and other facilities. In cooperation with nearby Williams College (America’s foremost liberal arts college), the Clark also administers a graduate program in the history of art that is actively training the next generation of museum leaders. The Clark’s dual mission as both an art museum and a center for research in visual arts makes it one of only a few such programs in the United States.
Although it is readily accessible from international airports in New York and Boston, the museum’s location in Williamstown has made it more challenging for overseas art fans, especially those in Japan, to see the collection.
The renovation and expansion of the museum has provided the fortunate opportunity for 73 impressionist works – the cream of the collection – to come to Japan. Once the work on the museum is completed, this remarkable collection will return to Williamstown and will likely not travel in this way again. This exhibition represents a truly wonderful chance to see and enjoy this precious collection in Japan.
|Title||GREAT FRENCH PAINTINGS FROM THE CLARK – Renoir and Masterpieces of French Painting|
February 9, 2013 (Saturday) – May 26, 2013 (Sunday)
Museum hours: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 10:00 – 20:00
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum,Tokyo Yomiuri Shimbun
|For more information or enquiries|
Advance tickets can be bought during the periods and at the locations below.
Same-day ticket: 1,500 yen (adults), 1,000 yen (high-school and university students), 500 yen (elementary and junior high students)
3 minutes on foot from Nijubashimae Station (Exit No. 1) on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line
4 minutes on foot from Hibiya Station (Exit No. B7) on the Toei Mita Line
5 minutes on foot from the JR Tokyo Station (Marunouchi South Exit) or JR Yurakucho Station (International Forum Exit)