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THE IMPRESSIONISTS. Masterpieces from the Clark Collection

For the first time in Italy, 73 masterpieces from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, USA.

Palazzo Reale in Milan is to be the first venue on the unprecedented, outstanding world tour of masterpieces from the famous American collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, which includes great French works of the nineteenth century, with stunning paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot and Camille Pissarro.

The exhibition The Impressionists. Masterpieces from the Clark Collection, from 2 March to 19 June 2011, will present 73 paintings by nineteenth century French masters. The Clark collection will subsequently be hosted in France at the Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny, from 13 July to 31 October 2011, and in Spain, at the CaixaForum in Barcelona, from 18 November 2011 to 12 February 2012, before continuing its tour of the world's leading museums.

The event is staged by the Culture Department of Comune di Milano, and organised by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, in association with Palazzo Reale and Arthemisia Group.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute was founded in 1955 in Williamstown, Massachusetts, thanks to Robert Sterling Clark, one of the heirs of the Singer sewing machine fortune, and his wife Francine Clary Clark, who together bought the main nucleus of the collection between 1910 and 1950. Taking pride of place in the institution is its noted collection of French paintings, as well as European and American masterpieces dating from the Renaissance to the end of the nineteenth century.

The Clark also organises major exhibitions, exporting its works all over the world. The last and most recent was the monographic exhibition Pasión por Renoir, which opened in October 2010 at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, featuring the institute's entire collection of thirty-one paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which had never before left Williamstown as a group.

After Madrid, twenty-one of these masterpieces will come to Milan for the event dedicated to the Impressionists, as the central feature of an original and evocative show that brings together the paintings of Renoir, Monet, Degas, Manet, Morisot and Pissarro, alongside fundamental works by the painters of the Barbizon school, such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-François Millet and Theodore Rousseau, major academic painters of the day like William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alfred Stevens, and post-Impressionists including Pierre Bonnard, Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

The exhibition is curated by Richard Rand, the Clark's Senior Curator, and the layout, designed with the artistic consultancy of Stefano Zuffi, is divided into ten sections that focus on the fundamental themes characterizing the stylistic and technical innovations of the second half of the nineteenth century: Impression, Light, Nature, The Sea, Town and Country, Travel, The Body, Faces, Society and Pleasures.

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