Dutch Dialogues

Dutch Dialogues

A series of “Dutch Dialogues” will be displayed in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s permanent collection galleries in celebration of the arts and culture of The Netherlands during “NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires.” Each pair or set of paintings will be linked by a unique “dialogue” between them and will allow visitors to compare the Dutch masterpieces to works in the Clark’s collection.

The first pairing, “Portrait of Pieter Jacobsz” (owned by the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida) and “Portrait of Maritge Vooght Claesdr” (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), both by Frans Hals, 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 19th century.

In the second pairing, the Clark’s pastel by Jean-François Millet titled “The Sower” will hang next to Vincent van Gogh’s “Sower” (after Millet) (Vincent 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 third of the “dialogues” pairs self-portraits by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Van Gogh. Displaying the Clark-owned Renoir next to one of Van Gogh’s iconic self-portraits from the Van Gogh Museum underscores the shared stylistic and psychological relationships between the two artists.

The final “dialogue” will feature “Chlamydia”, a pastiche of Manet’s famous “Olympia” by contemporary Dutch artist Robert Scholte. This imposing composition, lent by the Williams College Museum of Art, will be juxtaposed with images from the Clark’s collection of Impressionist paintings. Scholte’s large expanse of jet black canvas will be shocking 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, therefore reminding viewers that the subject matter and style of the Impressionists frequently challenged traditional notions of what was ‘proper’ for art.

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

June 3 through September 3, 2007