The Government of France awarded Richard Rand a Chevalier in its Ordre des Arts et Lettres during a ceremony yesterday at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Rand is the Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Senior Curator of Paintings at the Clark. Christophe Guilhou, the Consul General of France in Boston, made the presentation in recognition of Rand’s significant contributions to promoting French art and culture.
The Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) was established in 1957 and is awarded by the French Minister of Culture to recognize eminent artists, writers, and scholars for their efforts in promoting the awareness andenrichment of France’s cultural heritage throughout the world. Rand was inducted as a knight in the Order.
“The Clark has been extraordinarily fortunate to have Richard Rand lead our curatorial program for almost 15 years,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “He is a distinguished scholar and curator who has made important contributions to expanding appreciation of French art and culture. We congratulate Richard on this well-deserved honor, and his many friends at the Clark are so pleased to be able to celebrate this important moment with him.”
Throughout his career, Rand has demonstrated a commitment to the study and appreciation of French art. He received his B.A. from Bowdoin College and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a dissertation on the landscapes of Jean-Honoré Fragonard.
Since joining the Clark’s curatorial team in 1997, Rand has been responsible for a number of major exhibitions studying the works of noted French painters, including Fragonard, Jacques-Louis David, and Claude Lorrain. Rand is also a lecturer in art history in the Williams College/Clark Graduate Program in the History of Art and has lectured and published widely in his field of research.
At the Clark, Rand has been instrumental in several key acquisitions to augment the museum’s collection of paintings by French artists, including Two Horses Fighting in a Stormy Landscape by Eugène Delacroix, a suite of sixteen drawings by Claude Lorrain, and Farm in the Landes (House of the Garde), by Pierre Étienne Théodore Rousseau. He has curated several exhibitions, including Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile; Consuming Passion: Fragonard’s Allegories of Love; The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, which traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Claude Lorrain: The Painter as Draftsman, which was also shown at the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Most recently, Rand has played a central role in bringing international attention to the Clark’s noted collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French paintings. Last fall, Rand was instrumental in creating Spain’s first monographic presentation of works by Pierre-August Renoir with the opening of Pasión por Renoir: La colleción del Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute at the Museo Nacional del Prado, which attracted 370,000 visitors during its run, making it one of the best attended special exhibitions in the Prado’s history. In March 2011, Rand led the Clark’s curatorial initiative to open a three-year international tour of the Clark’s great French paintings. The exhibition is currently being presented at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, where more than 85,000 have visited the show since its opening. Later this year, Rand will bring the Clark’s collection to France, providing a unique opportunity to show the works in their country of origin during a 16-week exhibition at the Musée des impressionnismes in Giverny.
Rand has also been an active participant in the French Regional & American Museum Exchange (FRAME) program, a unique coalition created in 1999 to foster bilateral exchanges between a group of twenty-four American and French regional art museums, making their respective resources available to a wider public on both sides of the Atlantic. Prior to joining the Clark, he held curatorial appointments at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1989–1992) and the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College (1992–1997).
Consul General Guilhou presented Rand with the Order’s silver medallion, an eight-point, green-enameled star. The ribbon of the Order is green with four white stripes. The obverse central disc features the letters “A” and “L” on a white enameled background, surrounded by a golden ring emblazoned with the phrase “République Française.” The reverse central disc features the head of Marianne, the national emblem of France and an allegory of Liberty and Reason on a golden background, surrounded by a golden ring bearing the words “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.”
Rand is the son of Richard and June Rand of Washington, D.C.
Recipients of the Chevalier award represent an international coterie of leaders in arts and culture. Rand joins a prestigious list of American recipients including Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, George Clooney, William M. Griswold, Morgan Freeman, Marilyn Horne, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, and Meryl Streep.