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Curatorial Office Records of Lisa A. Jolin

Curatorial Office Records of Lisa A. Jolin

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Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute:

A Guide to Curatorial Office Records of Lisa A. Jolin, 1987-1995

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Library
225 South Street
Williamstown, MA, 01267

March 31, 2009

Profile Description

Creation: Finding aid prepared by Lacy Schutz
Language: Finding aid written in English.

Repository: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Library
Creator:Jolin, Lisa A.
Title: Curatorial Office Records of Lisa A. Jolin
Dates: 1987-1995
General Physical Description:2.5 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:Lisa A. Jolin was the curatorial secretary from 1989-1997. These materials consist of other curatorial staff members' correspondence, records relating to several shows, and some employment records.
Identification: CAI ARC 2007.21
Language: English

Arrangement of the Records

This collection is loosely arranged by theme.

Scope and Contents of the Records

Lisa A. Jolin was the curatorial secretary from 1989 to 1997. Among her files are copies of other staff members' correspondence, including that of Rafael Fernandez, curator of prints and drawings from 1975 until 1994; and Steven Kern, curator of prints from 1989 through 1995. Also contained in her files are records relating to shows at the Clark, including Empires Restored, Elysium Revisited: The Art of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema in 1992; A Golden Harvest: Paintings by Adam Pynacker in 1994; and Facing the Past: 19th Century Portraits from the Collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, also in 1994.

History of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

In 1950 Sterling and Francine Clark chartered the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute as a home for their extensive art collection. Opened to the public in 1955, the Institute has built upon this extraordinary group of works to become a highly respected art museum and one of the few institutions in the United States that combines a public art museum with a complement of research and academic programs, including a major art history library.

The Clarks had a strong familial tie to Williams College, where Sterling’s grandfather had served as a trustee between 1878 and 1882 and his father was a trustee from 1882 to 1886. Encouraged by a series of conversations with the leaders of Williams College and its art museum, Sterling and Francine Clark first visited Williamstown in the early autumn of 1949. A charter for the new Institute was signed on March 14, 1950, just six months later.

In 1955 the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute opened its doors under the guidance of its first director, former silver dealer Peter Guille. There were only two galleries on view, and the majority of the works were not displayed. The Institute slowly unveiled its treasures during several exhibitions in the coming years.

A decade of immense change began at the Clark in 1960. Francine Clark died in April, four years after her husband, and the museum gained a significant additional endowment, enabling it to consider both new acquisitions and special programmatic initiatives in the coming years. J. Phinney Baxter, former Williams College president; John E. Sawyer, president of Williams and Clark Trustee; Talcott Banks, future Clark board chair; and Dr. William Milliken, a leader among American museum directors, helped the Institute find its direction and take the first major step toward establishing itself as a center for research and academic programming as well as a museum. With the support, encouragement, and prompting of this group, the Institute enlarged its educational and research focus, embraced the academic mission of the Clark's 1950 charter, and decided to establish a graduate program.

Noted art historian George Heard Hamilton joined the Clark in June 1966 as the director of the Institute and also as the head of the future graduate program.

To accommodate rapid growth, including an expanded library and a redirected and enlarged educational initiative, construction began on a new building, which was completed in 1973. Designed by Pietro Belluschi and The Architects Collaborative, it houses a library, graduate seminar rooms, galleries, offices, and an auditorium. The auditorium allowed for the addition of children's education programs, film and lecture series, and concert programs.

The Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory, now known as the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, was founded on the Institute's campus in 1977. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to conservation and other issues of collection care. This same year, David S. Brooke became director of the Institute. Important purchases during this time included Vulcan Presenting Arms to Venus for Aeneas by François Boucher, Young Christian Girl in Prayer by Paul Gauguin, and Port of Rouen: Unloading Wood by Camille Pissarro.

The 1990s began with the expansion of the Clark Art Institute's national and international profile through its hosting of important exhibitions, including Winslow Homer in the 1890s and The Art of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Michael Conforti joined the Institute as director in 1994.

In 1996 an addition to the newer building was completed, which enabled the Clark to organize several major exhibitions such as A Passion for Renoir: Sterling and Francine Clark Collect (1996), Uncanny Spectacle: The Early Career of the Young John Singer Sargent (1997), and Jean-François Millet: Drawn into the Light (1999).

The Institute launched a number of new programs in the mid-1990s, including the Clark Fellows program, which enables leading academic scholars, museum professionals, and independent researchers from around the world to pursue research in art, art history, and visual culture at the Clark. The Institute also began to host symposia and conferences designed to contribute to a broader public understanding of the role of art in culture and introduced several new family-oriented programs.

In January 2001, the Clark announced its master plan to preserve and develop the 140-acre campus. The goal of the master plan is to provide for the continued expansion of the Institute's many programs and to satisfy the needs of its growing visitorship, while at the same time preserving the unique character of the Clark and its surroundings for the century ahead.

Index Terms

Art museum curators
Art museums
Art museums -- Exhibitions
Black-and-white photographs
Fernandez, Rafael, 1927-
Gado, Anna
Henry Luce Foundation
Jolin, Lisa A.
Kern, Steven, 1958-
McSweeny, Mary Ann
Personnel records
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
Williamstown, MA


Restrictions on Access

This material is currently restricted.

Restrictions on Use

This material is currently restricted.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

These records were transferred to Storage A sometime after 1995.

Preferred Citation

[Cite the item (as appropriate)], Curatorial Office Records of Lisa A. Jolin, 1987-1995, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Records, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Acquisition Information

These records were accessioned from Storage A in June 2007.

Processing Information

Lacy Schutz, archivist, processed these records in June of 2007.

Related Material

Related or similar material can be found in the following series in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Records, Williamstown, Massachusetts: Curatorial Office Records of Charles Cunningham; Curatorial Office Records of Jennifer Lovett; Curatorial Office Records of Stephen Kern; Curatorial Office Records of the American Paintings Catalogue; Curatorial Photographic Services Orders; Records of the Curator of Paintings; Curatorial Office Records of the Prints and Drawings Department; Curatorial Office Records of Exhibition Planning, 1951-1978; Director's Office Records of David Brooke, 1980-1994; Curatorial Office Records of Thomas Weston Fels, 1994-1996; Exhibition Records, 1994-Present.

Separated Material

Some files containing Photographic Services Orders were found among these records. They were removed and placed with other, identical files in the Curatorial Photographic Services Orders series (CAI ARC 2007.20).

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