Clark turning its eyes on Picasso, Frankenthaler, and Alma-Tadema this summer


WILLIAMSTOWN — The Clark Art Institute will be hosting four special exhibitions this summer focusing on the work of Pablo Picasso, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Helen Frankenthaler,

"We are looking forward to an exceptional summer and are delighted to be able to bring such important works to Williamstown to share them with our community and our visitors," the Clark's director, Oliver Meslay, says in a news release. "Some of these exhibitions originate from the Clark's permanent collection and some are presented through the generosity of lenders with whom we have close working relationships—and all of them promise to offer new insights into the artists whose works are on view."

Two exhibitions, "Picasso: Encounters" and "Orchestrating Elegance: Alma-Tadema and Design," open on June 4, and two, both focusing on Frankenthaler, open on July 2.

- "Picasso: Encounters," which runs through Aug. 27, explores Picasso's (1881-1973) interest in and experimentation with large-scale printmaking throughout his career, challenging the notion of Picasso as an artist alone with his craft. The exhibition includes important paintings on loan from the Mus e national Picasso-Paris. The exhibition addresses his expansive formal vocabulary, the narrative preoccupations that drove his creative process, the often-neglected issue of the collaboration inherent in print production, and the muses that inspired him, including Fernande Olivier, Olga Khokhlova, Dora Maar, Fran oise Gilot, and Jacqueline Roque.

The exhibition will be presented in the Clark Center's Michael Conforti Pavilion.

- "Orchestrating Elegance: Alma-Tadema and Design," through Sept. 4 in the Clark Center's lower level galleries, offers new insight into one of Alma-Tadema's most successful and distinctive artistic endeavors — the design of a music room in the Greco-Pompeian style for the New York mansion of financier, art collector, and philanthropist Henry Gurdon Marquand (1819-1902), one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Alma-Tadema designed the decoration of a Steinway grand piano (now in the Clark's collection) along with a matching suite of furniture and textiles for the room.

"Orchestrating Elegance brings together 12 pieces of the original furniture suite, along with paintings, ceramics, textiles, and sculpture from the room, for the first time since Marquand's estate was auctioned in 1903.

The exhibition examines the room and its objects from a number of perspectives, including how the commission unfolded and why Alma-Tadema was chosen to design the interior.

- "As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings," through Oct. 9 in the Lunder Center at Stone Hill., comprises a selection of large paintings by Helen Frankenthaler from the 1950s through the 1990s, focusing on nature as a longstanding inspiration. The paintings in this exhibition represent the full range of styles and techniques that Frankenthaler explored over five decades of work.

The works are on loan from the William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation and the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

- "No Rules: Helen Frankenthaler Woodcuts" — through Sept. 24 in the Eugene V. Thaw Gallery for Works on Paper — explores Frankenthaler's inventive and groundbreaking approach to the woodcut. The artist began creating woodcuts after experimenting with lithography, etching, and screen printing. Throughout her career, the artist worked with a variety of print publishers to push the medium in new directions.

During the 1979-80 academic year, Frankenthaler was part of the Williams College Artist-in-Residence Program. At the end of this period, the Clark presented and toured a comprehensive exhibition of her prints, curated by Thomas Krens, then director of the Artist-in-Residence Program and incoming director of the Williams College Museum of Art.


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