The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
announced two endowment gifts totaling $4.5 million in recognition of the achievements of the Clarks curatorial department. A $2.5 million gift establishes the position of Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Senior Curator and a $2 million gift endows the position of the Sylvia and Leonard Marx Director of Collections and Exhibitions. In 2007 a gift from the Manton Foundation endowed the position of Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs currently held by Jay A. Clarke. With these gifts the Clark realizes the goal of endowing all three of its senior curatorial positions.
The role of a curator is of supreme importance to any museum, said Michael Conforti, the Clarks Director. As stewards of the collection, curators safeguard the museums treasures, oversee acquisitions, coordinate exhibitions and new scholarship, and interpret the collection for ever-changing audiences. These generous gifts are a tremendous acknowledgement of the outstanding work of the Clarks curators and the international significance of our curatorial program.
The Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Senior Curator position is currently held by Richard Rand, who also serves as Curator of Paintings and Sculpture. Rand has been instrumental in several key acquisitions at the Clark, including Two Horses Fighting in a Stormy Landscape by Eugène Delacroix, a suite of sixteen drawings by Claude Lorrain, and Farm in the Landes (House of the Garde), by Pierre Étienne Théodore Rousseau. He has also curated major exhibitions, including The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, which traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Claude Lorrain: The Painter as Draftsman, which was also shown at the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Lipps cited the excellence of the Clarks exhibition program and the thoughtfulness of its acquisitions among the reasons for their gift. Martha Berman Lipp is the former CEO and owner of Merchants Travel Inc., and taught English at Butler University. She currently serves on the Clarks Board of Trustees, as well as the Board of Trustees of The Childrens Aid Society of New York. Robert Lipp is a senior advisor at JP Morgan Chase & Co. and serves on the boards of MASS MoCA and the New York City Ballet.
Kathleen Morris currently holds the position of Sylvia and Leonard Marx Director of Collections and Exhibitions. She is also the Clarks Curator of Decorative Arts. The Marxes have been interested in decorative arts since their first visit to the Clark in 1972. Morris coordinates the Clarks ambitious exhibition program, including traveling exhibitions such as Collecting the Impressionists: Masterpieces from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the first national tour of works from the Clark that was presented in seven museums between 2005 and 2007. Exhibitions that are co-organized by the Clark with partner museumssuch as Picasso Looks at Degas, which debuted at the Clark in summer 2010 and recently concluded at the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, and The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings, which was shown at the Clark and Royal Academy in Londonwere also managed by Morris. In making their gift, the Marxes recognized the strength of the Clarks decorative arts collection and its leadership in the area of exhibitions. Sylvia Marx is an accomplished concert pianist and a Trustee of the Marlboro School of Music. Mrs. Marx serves on the Visitors Board of the Yale School of Music, and has served as a Trustee of Connecticut College. Leonard Marx, Jr. was the Chairman and CEO of Merchants National Properties.