Published: May 22, 2007
Dutch masterpieces will meet their matches at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute during “Dutch Dialogues,” on view June 3⁓eptember 3, 2007.
The exhibit will showcase four iconic works by Vincent van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Jean-François Millet. In addition, two portraits by Frans Hals will be reunited for the first time in two centuries, and a work by contemporary Dutch artist Robert Scholte will be juxtaposed with the Clark’s Impressionist paintings. Several fine Seventeenth Century Dutch paintings from the Clark’s permanent collection will also be on view.
“Dutch Dialogues” features works of art linked by a unique “dialogue” allowing visitors to compare masterpieces by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh to works in the Clark’s collection. Van Gogh will meet Renoir when their striking self-portraits are displayed side-by-side in the galleries. Exhibiting the Clark-owned Renoir next to van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait” (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) underscores the shared stylistic and psychological relationships between the two artists.
The Clark’s pastel by Jean-François Millet, “The Sower,” will be joined with van Gogh’s “Sower (after Millet)” (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam). Millet’s depictions of field laborers left an indelible impression on the artistic imagination of van Gogh, who returned to the motif repeatedly in later years.
The portrait of “Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan” (The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Fla.) and “Maritge Vooght Claesdr., Wife of Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan, Mayor of Haarlem” (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), both painted by Frans Hals in 1639, will once again face each other as Hals had intended.
This husband and wife duo were originally painted as a pair but have been separated at least since the Nineteenth Century. This will be the first time in centuries the two paintings by the Dutch artist will be reunited. Recent conservation of the painting of Maritge Vooght Claesdr. has led to startling surprises, including details that were added well after Hals’s death.
The final “dialogue” will feature “Chlamydia” (Williams College Museum of Art), a reinterpretation of Edouard Manet’s famous “Olympia,” by contemporary Dutch artist Robert Scholte. This imposing composition will be juxtaposed with works from the Clark’s collection of Impressionist paintings.
Scholte’s large expanse of jet black canvas will provide shocking contrast among the room’s pastel pinks, delicate nudes and serene landscapes. The title of Scholte’s painting, the name of a sexually transmitted disease, recalls the shock value Manet’s “Olympia” had when originally exhibited, thereby reminding viewers that the subject matter and style of the Impressionists frequently challenged traditional notions of what was “proper” for art.
The works by Renoir, Millet, van Gogh, and Scholte will be displayed within the Impressionist Gallery in a special installation designed by Selldorf Architects, the firm recently selected for the renovation of the Clark’s original museum building.
Also on view at the Clark this summer is “The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings.” The exhibit provides a look into the secret world of Claude Monet and allows viewers to discover his hidden life as a youthful caricaturist, masterful draftsman and talented pastel artist.
Newly discovered documentation of Monet’s formative years and the first comprehensive gathering of his rarely seen works on paper combine to make this a groundbreaking exhibition. “The Unknown Monet” will be on view June 24⁓eptember 16.
For information, www.clarkart.edu or 413-458-2303.
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