The Art of Iron from Le Secq des Tournelles at The Clark Art Institute – Partnership between FRAME museums

The Clark Art Institute, June 9 – September 16, 2018

Drawn from the celebrated collection of the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles in Rouen, France, one of the world’s finest museums devoted to wrought iron, The Art of Iron presents thirty-six unique objects in an installation celebrating the craft and beauty of these creations. Salvaged by the founders of the Musée Le Secq during a period when wrought iron was being rapidly discarded and replaced with modern materials, these pieces tell stories of preindustrial times and highlight the importance of iron in our shared past. The exhibition features shop, inn, and cabaret signs; architectural grills, gates, and balcony railings; masterful locks and lockboxes; spectacular lecterns made for churches; and household objects, including wares for the kitchen, bedroom, and garden.

The Art of Iron is presented in the light-filled Michael Conforti Pavilion of the Clark Center, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando. This modernist space forms an ideal backdrop for these historic wrought iron objects. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by the Clark and distributed internationally by Yale University Press, that explores the themes of the exhibition and presents each object with new, large-scale photographic images.

The exhibition is co-organized by the Clark Art Institute and the Réunion des Musées Métropolitains, Rouen, Normandy. Generous contributors to the exhibition include Sylvia and Leonard Marx and the Selz Foundation, with additional support from Richard and Carol Seltzer.

CABARET SIGN, BAT. Possibly 19th century, modified in the 20th century. Wrought iron and rolled iron, carved and embossed, green glass. Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen, LS.2003.4.1. Image © Agence La Belle Vie – Nathalie Landry
24 The Art of Iron, Objects from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen Normandy, Clark Art Institute, Wiliamstown