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International touring exhibition of French masterpieces from the Clark Art Institute on view in Kobe
Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917), Dancers in the Classroom, c. 1880. Oil on canvas, 39.4 x 88.4 cm. © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.562.

WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.- The international tour of French nineteenth-century paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s collection opened in June at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art in Kobe, Japan, marking the eighth stop on the Clark’s world tour that has drawn more than 1.6 million visitors since it began in October 2010. The exhibition recently ended a sixteen-week presentation at the Mitsubishi Ichikogan Museum in Tokyo and marked a new record for attendance with more than 215,000 visitors.

Open to the public through September 1, 2013, the exhibition at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum features seventy-three paintings, including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Camille Pissarro, as well as those by Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Paul Gauguin, Jean-François Millet, Alfred Sisley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jean-Léon Gérôme.

“It has been tremendously exciting and rewarding to see the response our paintings have garnered from audiences around the world. The extraordinary enthusiasm and appreciation shown by the Japanese people is most gratifying,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “We are eager to see our paintings on view at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum because their beautiful museum was designed by Tadao Ando, the architect of our Stone Hill Center and our new Visitor, Exhibition, and Conference Center. This will mark a very significant moment in the tour and an equally auspicious preview of the gallery experience we will soon have here at the Clark.”

The timing of the international tour coincides with the current building activity tied to the Clark’s campus expansion program, including the construction of the new Visitor, Exhibition, and Conference Center designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Ando. Following its presentation in Kobe, the exhibition will move to the Shanghai Museum, where it will open on September 20, 2013.

“The Clark’s paintings serve as our ambassadors to the world during this exciting period of change and growth on our campus,” said Conforti. “They have also proven to be great ambassadors for the rich cultural offerings available in the Berkshires. We are proud to be able to use our tour as a way of introducing the Berkshires to audiences around the globe and encouraging them to visit the region.”

Accompanying the exhibition is the catalogue Great French Paintings from the Clark, published by Skira Rizzoli in spring 2011, with editions in five languages. The 240-page publication, available in hardcover, features 131 color illustrations accompanied by essays by James A. Ganz and Richard R. Brettell.

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