Clark Gala Brings the Pleasures of Paris to the Berkshires

The Pleasures of Paris Winter Gala on Saturday, January 31, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute celebrates Paris, one of Europe's most enchanting cities, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, one of France's most well-known artists. Offering a feast for the senses from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, this fun-filled evening with a European flair promises fantastic food and wine, music, and a preview of Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris.

Step out into the Parisian nightlife of the late nineteenth century and stroll the streets of Paris. Berkshire resident Kathryn Anderson will lure dancers to the floor with jazz and French songs. Originally trained in classical piano, Anderson discovered her true passion as a jazz singer. She lived and worked in Paris and has performed with the Cantilena Chamber Choir.

Strolling among guests, Robert Rivest will perform traditional street mime. A student of Marcel Marceau, Rivest trained for over ten years with internationally renowned masters of mime, dance, theater, and improvisation. Along with his training in Paris and New York City, he received his BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

Delicious hors d'oeuvres will give you a taste of Parisian favorites including brandade d'haricots ( bean, garlic, and artichoke spread with crostini ), pissaladiere ( French pizza bread with olives and herbs ), crostini with tapenade and chevre, and thon a l'aioli ( grilled tuna with aioli ), moules farcie ( mussels with garlic, parsley, and bread crumb topping ), courgettes farcie ( stuffed zucchini ), smoked trout on sourdough crostini with horseradish sauce, and seared beef skewers with béarnaise and green peppercorn sauce. Delectable desserts include pear almond and strawberry tartelettes and profiteroles with chocolate mousse filling. Complimentary French chardonnay and merlot, along with sparking and bottled water will be available.

Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris, an exhibition of over eighty remarkable oil paintings, posters, photographs, drawings, and lithographs, marks the first time in over fifteen years that the Clark will show nearly its entire extraordinary collection of works by the great French painter and printmaker Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec ( 1864–1901 ). Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris will revel in Montmartre's raucous streets, cabarets, theaters, and circuses—venues frequented by modern artists seeking inspiration from the world of entertainment at the turn of the century. The exhibition will showcase Toulouse-Lautrec's magnificent capacity for both quiet intimacy and theatrical flair in a variety of media. Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris will be on view February 1 through April 26, 2009.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm ( daily in July and August ). Admission is free November 1 through May 31.

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