Art exhibits


December 14, 2019 - March 22, 2020

Implying infinite freedom and open-ended, self-engendering form, arabesque is deeply associated with Islamic art and architecture while being at the same time central to key movements in European art. With a history stretching back to antiquity, arabesque lies at the heart of debates over ornament and meaning in art. For a long time relegated to the status of frame or border, and used chiefly as a decorative addition, arabesque found new life in the nineteenth century as it “broke out of the frame” and came into its own as an independent driver of pictorial innovation.
The exhibition will trace this process over a series of moments in European art when arabesque was in the ascendant—from German Romanticism to the Pre-Raphaelites, Nabi artists, and Art Nouveau. It will feature a select array of works from a wide range of media, including paintings, prints, drawings, book illustrations, posters, furniture, and textiles.

The Clark
225 South Street
Williamstown, MA 01267