Monday, October 4, 2010

Visit to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

I visited the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute  over the weekend and was very impressed with their collection of American and European art from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. There were fantastic paintings by Monet, Remington, Pissaro, Sergent, and Homer. What I really fell in love with was the Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931) collection. The Clark has the largest collection of Boldini paintings in America. His paintings at the Clark were mostly small, but done with an impressionist style that was intricate, colorful, painterly, and vibrant. He painted landscape and street life in Paris where he lived and was famous for his portraits as well.

Portrait of Mrs. Howard Johnston by Giovanni Boldini.
Sterling Clark settled in Paris and began collecting works of art, an interest he inherited from his parents. When he married Francine Clary in 1919, she joined him in what quickly became a shared passion. Together they created a remarkable collection of paintings, silver, sculpture, porcelain, drawings, and prints with complete reliance on their own judgments and tastes. In 1950 the Clarks founded the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute as a permanent home for their collection, and the museum first opened to the public in 1955. Since its conception, the Institute has had a dual mission as both a museum and a center for research and higher education. It is in this spirit that the Clark has expanded over the last five decades to become the influential institution it is today.

A variety of special exhibitions is offered throughout the year, bringing together works from collections around the world and presenting them in intelligent, enlightening, and visually appealing installations. Recent exhibitions have included Dove/O'Keefe: Circles of Influence; Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris; Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly; The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings; Gainsborough, Constable, and Turner: The Manton Collection; Consuming Passion: Fragonard's Allegories of Love; and Remington Looking West.

The current exhibit is of John Constable, including works by his son, Lional. Coming in November, Albreckt Durer, the German Renaissance painter and printmaker. I highly recommend that you see this collection and their regular collection.

Picture courtesy of


Nora Kasten said...

Patty-When I was there 15 years ago that gallery had the most Renoirs in the US. I was in awe. Are they still there?

Patty Meglio said...

Hi, Nora,

There were some, but I heard that they had a lot of the impressionist paintings in one of their rooms out on loan. I suspect that a number of them were Renoirs. I looked online at their collection and realized that I did not see a lot of the Renoirs.

Next year, they are going to do an exhibit on Pissaro that should be really good. Maybe by then, the loaned paintings will be back.