Sterling and Francine Clark Art Intitute approaches to Madrid
On the exhibition in Prado Museum: Passion for Renoir
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Intitute
A select selection of linens of Auguste Renoir one can contemplate until February 13, 2011 in the Museum of Brown (Madrid) thanks to the patronage of the Foundation BBVA. These paintings constitute in main nucleus of the catalog of works that agree Clark Art Institute, a center of private art that acts like museum and like center of artistic investigation, which was founded on Williamstown (Massachussets) thanks to the generous patronage of Clark. Sterling and Francine Clark that throughout more than forty years were collecting not only works of Renoir, but of most of the impressionists (Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Monet and Manet between others) as well as of a big number of artists who constitute a good representation of the main styles that goes from the Renaissance until the beginning of the XXth century.
Robert Sterling Clark (1877 - 1956) was one of these children who had a good time of being born in the bosom of a millionaire family. Its grandfather, Edward Clark, was a young and prestigious lawyer when in 1848 it hired the inventor Isaac Merrit Singer with whom, later, it collaborated and happened to turn into the president of Singer Corporation (the famous signature of sewing machines). With 22 years and, perhaps, to move away from the pressure of the family from whom he inherited the taste for the art, it enlisted in the American army. It was sent to China to fight in the Rebellion of the Bóxers, 1899 – 1901 (several potency declares the war to China, episode that has been taken to the movies in different occasions standing out 55 days in Peking). On having finished the conflict instead of returning to Piece of news Yok, young Clark decides to go to live to Paris. And this way it is in the full cultural capital where they put out and take impulse the first avant-gardes of the XXth century (there was still very present the Parisian ambience that makes a detour to the first impressionistic exhibitions). To the attractions of the city it is necessary to add that it is there where it meets, in 1910, Francine Clary, an actress of the French comedy. At that time the fortune of Sterling Clark had increased of considerable form after its mother died. Such is the magnitude of its economic power that in autumn 1910 buys a modest hotel where it is going to be hanging the works that he is acquiring. Its passion for the art leads him to buying works of big outstanding figures. But soon he realizes that it cannot maintain a high rhythm with the prices of the moment. James A. Ganz in the catalog that has been edited owing to the exhibition of Madrid does not give a few information: For Virgin with the child enthroned of Piero della Francesca he paid 170 thousand dollars, while for its first Renoir, Girl doing crochet hook, pay, in 1915, 20 thousand dollars. This was its first Renoir of a whole of 35 works. Today it can turn out to be easy to think how we should do it. But it is necessary to bear in mind that for many this type of painting was still ugly, unfinished, and up to sultry; it is enough to come to the critiques of the first exhibitions and we will realize it.
In 1920 together with its wife Francine they change already New York where they buy a luxurious apartment of 18 rooms in the number 300 of Pak Avenue (I joust where today we can contemplate the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria). And as they keep on having many empty walls since they continue with its love for the painting extending its tastes to other styles and paintings, but especially like main figure that of Auguste Renoir.
The relation with its family did not have to be nothing was flowing. It is known that in 1924, before setting off towards Paris, it did a testament to prevent its goods from happening to its brothers. In him one was showing that in case of a joint death, its house of Paris and its art collection were passing for a donation to Petit Palais and the rest of its goods to Viviane (daughter of Francine fruit of a previous relation).
In 1946, before setting off abroad, (scarcely it moved of the city during the Second II World war) it did a testament again and he specifies for the first to see its intention of doing a museum in the city of New York that lodges its art collection. He was foreseeing the creation of an institution without lucre fortitude, named the collection R. Sterling Clark “with the target to establish and to maintain an art gallery, to encourage and to develop the study of the fine arts and to advance in the general knowledge of related topics; the above mentioned art gallery will be public, so that the public always has access to her”.
One year later, the collector decides that it is time to go I finish its idea of a museum. He wants to intervene straight in its foundation and not to leave it to its executrix. Clark was feeling worried by the explosion of a new warlike conflict. He had been a voluntary military man, had lived through the first one and the second world war and realized that to locate a museum in the city of New York was a risk before a possible warlike attack. It had a feeling of terror towards this perspective. It had managed to safeguard its treasure of the last big conflict. It had to locate a city near to New York but, in turn, removed from everything. And there chose Williamstown (Massachusetts, near to New York and to Boston) a city where its grandparents had its roots. In February, 1950 an appropriate head office was located and Sterling was born of official form and Francine Clark Art Intitute. Clark showed that the institute was not a simple treasure camera to exhibit its collection but this one must be tied to the educational function of the study of the fine arts. But it was not until May 17, 1955 when the marriage Clark could cut the tape that was giving for inaugurated its work. Only one year and a half later, on December 29, 1956 Robert Sterling was dying in its art temple and surrounded with its "children". There, under the main staircase, there rest the ashes of both bodies (Francine was part of the council of administration of the museum up to its death in 1960).
Today, after more than 50 years Sterling and Francine Clark Art Intitute is a recognized institution located in a small city of New England. Its creators, with a big future vision, claimed that not only it was a closed space full of works of art but the bases sat so that today it is a research center of international reputation in the art history.
The sample of the Meadow allows us to see a very concrete Renoir period. In particular of it is a question of works executed between 1870 and 1880. This period is the favorite of the collector Clark, the young Renoir. It seems that it must have shown that its most late works belonged to a “damned Renoir asalchichado”. While other collectors were buying works in large numbers, Clark devoted himself to this artist and to this period being quite selective, that is to say, that was done by, possibly, the best works of this period.
It is the first time that these Renoir travel out of Clark Art Institute circumstance from which, probably its founders would feel very proud. And if to this we add to him that the French painter is scantly present in the Spanish pictorial collections (except in the near Thyssen) this exhibition is an essential appointment for the lovers of the art in general and of the painting in particular.
Portrait of Renoir
Pierre Auguste Renoir is born on February 25, 1841 in Limoges, in the number 4 of Boulevard Sainte-Catherine (at present Boulevard Gambetta), being the penultimate one of five children.
In 1854 it joins, with thirteen years, a workshop of painting, of the brothers Levy, of decorated china, like beginner, with the hope to begin some day to be part of the payroll of the manufacturing Sèvres.
He acquires skill in the floral decoration and later in more difficult tasks like Marie-Antonieta portraits.
In 1862 it has to leave the painting in china for the new mechanical production. During a time it does on fan taking contact with pictures of Watteau and Boucher that are in the Louvre; he studies also Fragonard and Rubens. In April, it enters the School of Fine arts and in autumn, and for two years, he is being present at the classes in the workshop of the painter Gleyre, where it begins relation with Bazille, Sisley and Monet. On the following year with its new friends it works outdoors in the forest of Fontainebleau, where Pisarro and Cezanne join. This way they study the nature and take contact with the so called Barbizon school.
In the year 1864 and 1865 it comes of assiduous form to the gatherings of the Coffee Guerbois of Big Rue de Batignolles, where it meets Degas and Manet. In 1873 this numerous group of friends decides to form Société Anonyme Cooperative d'Artistes, Sculpteurs et Graveurs. Between the founders stand out: Boudin, Cezanne, Degas, Guillaumin, Monet, Morisot, Pisarro, Renoir and Sisley. On the following year on April 15 in the places of the photographer Nadar they opened their own exhibition, which will go down in history like the First Impressionistic Exhibition. Renoir is represented by six paintings and a cake, between them Harvesters, Ballerina and The theater box, acquired by the dealer Père Martin.
On April 18, 1875 it paints in the restaurant of the Fournaise, on the banks of the Seine, The lunch of the rowers painting the portrait of many of its friends in attitudes surprisingly natural. In autumn - winter he travels round Italy; between other cities he visits Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples.
In 1886 it manages to exhibit in New York and the works demand goes off. In the same year it manages to exhibit in Brussels with the called group of the "Vingt".
In 1892 he traveled with its publishing friend Gallimard to Spain where he remains much impressed with the Spanish painting, it admires especially Tiziano, Goya, Velázquez in Prado Museum.
On August 4 (with: 60 years!) there is born its third son, Claude, called "Coconut", model of many of its pictures of these years. In 1903, extremely thin and with the deformed hands, Renoir moves with its family definitely to Cagnes for its most benign climate. It exhibits 59 pictures in London. Its international recognition is already entire and its works are very quoted. In 1910 the illness had him weakened in a wheelchair, it was not already supported by the crutches and it ordered to construct a trestle to be able to coil the linen and keep on doing from the chair. The bones were bending him, the skin was drying off him and scarcely it was weighing 48 kilos; it was necessary to hold the brushes with Band-Aid to be able to do. In this epoch he became a sculptor: it found foreign hands that could reproduce what he wanted. In its last days, practically he dies to do. Its obsession becomes such that asks them to hold him to the wheelchair and the brushes to tie him to the hand with Band-Aids. In 1919 he tackles the big Rest composition after the bath. The forces leave him but he affirms that “it begins to be able to do”. It comes to the Louvre to see his work hung next to Veronés. It keeps on working despite declaring itself a new pulmonary congestion. On December 3, after the previous day has finished a still life with apples, during the night after having asked for a pencil to draw, it dozes and dies in Cagnes. It would be buried along with its wife in Essoyes.
To study in depth more the figure of Renoir and its work one can consult Magazine Atticus 5 (pages 27 to 32) that you can find on the same page under the eyelash The Magazine.
Luis José Cuadrado Gutiérrez
“I look at a naked body and see in him myriads
of softened; I must find what in
linen make the meat living and palpitating”
Pierre Auguste Renoir
“One morning the black was finished to all of us and the Impressionism was born”
Passion for Renoir
for Almudena Martínez Martín
The exhibition Passion for Renoir that it is possible to see in the Prado Museum of Madrid from October 19, 2010 until February 13, 2011 serves as excuse to show 31 works that the North American collector Robert Sterling Clark assembled along its life. The pieces that it hoarded of the French painter were the belonging ones to the most prolific and interesting period of the artist, and between them its favorite is, magnificent Onions, of 1881, an inn (genre that it did not cultivate especially) with a very free and novel invoice in the stroke and an experimental treatment of the color.
Diane Kelter defines Renoir as the Impressionist exhuberante, owed very probably to the love and taste that he felt, especially, from the year 1881 when he traveled to Italy and took contact with the main painters and classic sculptors, being the nude the point of reference of this period.
In the sample we can observe some of these examples, like the Fair-haired Swimmer who did in Naples in 1881, which looked like to me one of the most significant of all of them. The whiteness of the skin of its breasts, the soft skin of the face and the wonderful vague scenery do of her one of the jewels of the sample.
Its formation and study of the art Rococo of ends of the XVIIIth century, in the Gleyre workshop, since he leaves steadfastness himself in its own words, was fundamental in its learning:
“What a lot of times I have painted The shipment for Citerea! Like that were the first painters with whom I familiarized myself, Watteau, Lancret and Boucher. Rather: Diana in the bath was the first picture that impressed me, and the whole life I have continued that queriéndolo like one he wants to its first love”
For Feist, the Renoir pictures comprise several sets of topics: the portraits and the individual figures taken almost like portraits, the dance, the theater and the sociability, the rural excursions, the bustle in the streets of the big city and the natural scenery. Pero Renoir was an exceptional portraitist. It carries out an intimate and personal portrait, especially of the persons that it was meeting. It painted in numerous occasions Monet and its wife Camille, placing them in stages outdoors, between the nature, in its hearth, with vaporous forms, realizing some daily task like watering the plants, drinking the tea, swinging in the garden, going for a walk, conversing … Between them Girl stands out with sprinkling can, which is not in the exhibition but it is a good example of what Renoir wanted to represent in this stage of its artistic production. There are also especially tender and symbolic the gestures of the girls Charpentier in Missis Charpentier and its daughters.
“For me, a picture must be something kind, happy and nice. There are already in the life enough annoying things as so that we make even more”
In Passion for Renoir we find the magnificent Portrait of Camille Monet sat in its armchair reading, where the first japonesismo echoes are watched in the carpeting of the couch; as well as in Girl with fan, of 1879.
Especially showy she turned out to be to me a Girl with bird (dressed Mademoiselle Fleury of Algerian), of 1872, with the memory of Unpotter's clay both in the topic and in the exotic coloring that still without marking the line of the drawing brings to the memory the Odalisques and the Turkish Baths of that one. They allow to know by intuition its round feminine anatomies, but Renoir never resigned from the most strict beginning of fleetingness, color and instantaneidad of the Impressionism.
Sterling Clark also assembled other topics of the painter that were not portraits, like any of the sceneries that it realized in its trip to Italy (The Ducal Palace of Venice or any sight of Naples); as well as a Study for Tannhäuser scene. Third Act, of 1879; the Tama portrait, the Japanese dog (race chin of Japanese dog that became fashionable very much between the wealthy Parisian families) or the Studies of heads of the children Berard, in which it receives the expressions of three children sleeping, speaking, posing, laughing … in the same linen.
Renoir exhibited in four of eight Universal Exhibitions celebrated in Paris between 1874 and 1886, before the arrival of the so called “crisis of the Impressionism”. He shows himself that in 1883 “he had already exhausted the Impressionism” and in the end nor draw had come to the conclusion that he could not do. Finally, the Impressionism was taking him to a blind alley.
The arrival of its successors, the neo-impressionists, puntillistas, nabis and fauves it meant the mouth of the painting of Renoir in the so called “dry period”.
At the end of its life, Renoir suffered a severe rheumatoid arthritis, which was preventing him from handling the brushes and the pencils, for what they had to stick them to the hands and to the fingers so that it could keep on doing, since it did it until the end of its days, suffering from a serious pneumonia and weighing 48 kilos.
On December 3, 1919, after having finished its last picture, it was sentencing the following thing:
“I believe that little by little I understand something of this”.
And if he had left doubts: what will belong to us?
The exhibition one can visit in more or less forty minutes, depending on the time that the visitor wants to spread. The passes are every 15 minutes, and it is convenient to reserve well by phone or across the on-line sale due to the long hours for that it is necessary to wait out. I advise not to go in weekend to avoid agglomerations and to be able to enjoy it as it is deserved.
Kelder, Diane: The big book of the French Impressionism. Publishing Chair. Madrid, 1980.
Feist, Peter H.: Renoir. Ed. Taschen. Madrid, 1990.
John House. With an essay of James A. Ganz. Passion for Renoir. The collection of Sterling and Francine Cark Institute, Foundation BBVA, Prado Museum, Madrid 2010
You photograph: Transferred by Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute as organizer of the same one (Exhibition organized by Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the Prado Museum).
Filed file: Exhibitions
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