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.
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.
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.
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.