“The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute”

Heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune, Sterling Clark and his wife, Francine, were actively collecting art in Paris during the first half of the 20th century. Now many of those works – from one-name-only artists like Renoir, Manet, Degas, Monet, Pisarro and Toulouse-Lautrec – are part of “The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.” Closing out a three-year international tour, with a stop at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the exhibit features 73 paintings by 25 artists.

“This is a wide range of paintings that will give people a unique view of the high quality of French painting in the late 19th century, says Helga Aurisch, curator of European Art for the MFAH. “I saw it in London, and remember taking away a profound sense of awe at the high quality of the works.” The exhibit, on tour while the institute undergoes a major building expansion, includes several of the best-known works from the collection, such as a formal portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, a stormy seascape by Claude Monet and a painting of dancers in a classroom by Edgar Degas. Other works range from Orientalist paintings by Gérôme to early-modern works by Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard.

All of the works are reflective of the Clarks’ personal tastes. "It’s a spectacular exhibition and we are thrilled to have the chance to present the show in Houston," says MFAH director Gary Tinterow. "The Clarks were some of the finest collectors of their time, and their distinctive sensibility and taste is evident in this remarkable selection of some of the most renowned paintings in the history of nineteenth-century French painting."

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through March 23. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7771 or visit mfah.org. $20 to $23.
Sundays, 2:15-7 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Starts: Dec. 22. Continues through March 23, 2013


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