This exhibition presented a selection of nineteenth-century French drawings and prints from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, among them, sheets by Millet, Courbet, Degas, Manet, Pissarro, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, and other masters. Ranging widely in subject matter and technique and spanning the entire second half of the nineteenth century, these works represent the diverse interests of Realist, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist artists in a rapidly changing world. Graphite and charcoal drawings of classically idealized nudes exhibited the virtuoso finish and illusionism long championed by academic tradition while rapidly executed sketches presented more candid and provocative renderings of the body. Luminous pastels and watercolors captured impressions of city and country, and lively etchings and vivid color lithographs conveyed the spectacle and atmosphere of modern life. Populating these images are peasants, performers, racehorses, and mythological goddesses. Settings vary from the French countryside and far-flung islands to Parisian cafés and dancehalls, shifting back and forth between labor and leisure, highlife and low.
The Impressionist Line from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec: Drawings and Prints from the Clark was organized by Colin B. Bailey and Susan Grace Galassi of The Frick Collection, New York, and by Jay A. Clarke of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts.