The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is both an art museum and a leading center for research and higher education, dedicated to advancing and extending the public understanding of art. The Clark’s mission and its geographical location define these essential, interrelated aspects of its character and identity. Building upon the founders' legacy, the Institute has recently unveiled its master plan for the twenty-first century, which fosters the Clark's commitment to providing space for its expanding research and museum programs while maintaining the unique character of its beautiful rural setting. The Institute's director, curators, and research program staff teach in the Graduate Program on a regular basis.
The Clark's renowned art collections include old master paintings; a strong collection of nineteenth-century American paintings with special emphasis on Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent; an extensive group of Barbizon, Impressionist, and academic nineteenth-century French paintings; European and American decorative arts, notably silver; and important collections of prints, drawings, and photography. The Clark also offers rotating special exhibitions organized throughout the year.
The Manton Research Center houses the Clark's Research and Academic Program, which in addition to its fellowship program organizes year-round scholarly activities, including Clark Lectures, Conversations, Colloquia, Symposia, and Conferences that enrich the intellectual life of the Institute and contribute to a broader understanding of the role of art in culture. The Manton building also houses one of the largest art research libraries in North America, consisting of more than 200,000 volumes, 600 current periodical subscriptions, and a substantial collection of visual documentation in a range of formats. All graduate students are issued carrels in the library, which is open for study seven days a week.