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Sally Stein and Allan Sekula. Photo: Sarah Thornton.

Clark Art Institute Receives Allan Sekula’s Library

The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, has received the artist Allan Sekula’s fifteen-thousand-volume personal library. The gift comes from the late artist’s wife, art historian and professor Sally Stein, and will be housed in the Manton Research Center, which is scheduled to reopen on November 12 after an extensive renovation. This donation comes soon after the announcement of another major gift to the Clark.

Sekula was a widely respected and highly influential artist, photographer, filmmaker, and writer who taught in the photography and media program at the California Institute of the Arts for many years. Olivier Meslay, the Felda and Dena Hardymon director of the Clark, said of the acquisition: “It is a rare and distinct privilege to receive the library of an artist and thinker that is so rich and varied. The totality of his personal library gives us insight into the diverse intellectual interests of Allen Sekula, while the individual titles add an important new resource to strengthen our library’s collection . . . We are deeply indebted to Sally Stein for her generous gift and know that these books will fuel further inspiration in future generations of art historians, students, and scholars.”

A selection of works from the Allan Sekula Library are prominently displayed on twenty-four-foot high bookshelves that have been installed on balconies flanking the east and west ends of the Manton Research Center’s new reading room. Established in 1962, the Clark’s library includes more than two hundred and seventy thousand non-circulating books, bound periodicals, auction sales catalogues, and current journal subscriptions that number around six hundred and fifty. Focusing on post-medieval European and American art, the collection’s strengths include Italian and Northern Renaissance, Baroque, and nineteenth-century French art, as well as the history of photography.

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