Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

This past weekend Susie and I decided to take a color tour to the Berskhires and the Catskills to visit our friends the Archers. The plan was to drive to Williamstown, Massachusetts and the Clark Art Institute, have lunch and then on to Prattsville, New York and the Archer home deep in the wilds of the northern Catskills. Although it was raining when we left Providence, and would ocntinue to rain throughout the day, we pushed forward to northeastern Massachusetts.

After about 3 hours driving we reached our first objective, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. Three years ago we visited this incredible gem of a museum located in the wilds of the far northwestern corner of Massachusetts, a space seemingly designed expressly for those who seek out the Impressionists, French, American, Italian, you name it. At that time the the museum was in the process of expanding into a new space and most of the French Impressionist work was loaned out. Well, the good news is Renoir, Degas, Manet, Morisot and their comrades are back from their tour -- and the new building and environment is not to be missed.

It gets better: here you can also find an incredible collection of Winslow Homer juxtaposed neatly with several moving pieces by Frederick Remington. Plus there are other treasures to be found and savored; for example, we discovered Giovanni Boldini whose work is small in scale but huge in effect.
young woman crocheting 1875 by Giovanni Boldini
And there's the Alfred Stevens room tucked into a corner of the original building that was once the Clarks' dining room, as well as numerous works by such luminaries as Corot, Daubigny, and Sargent, three more "favorites" of ours.

A special bonus on this trip was the featured exhibition "Radical Words," centered around the English Magna Carta. Incredible!

featured exhibition: Magna Carta
By the time we arrived at it was getting late in the lunch hour and so our first order of business was to grab something to eat. We were pleasantly surprised to find the food at the Clark Cafe quite tasty.

the back side of the cafe
turkey wrap
flatbread with roast beef
From the cafe we walked back to the admissions desk, paid our fee (no discount for you seniors by the way) and on past the museum shop into the museum proper. The very first room was dedicated to those two incredible American artists Frederick Remington and Winslow Homer. The one that struck us as the most touching was "Undertow." The digital version fails to do the power of the imagery justice.
Undertow 1886 by Winslow Homer
We soon found our way into room after room of Impressionists, both well-known and less so.
child with bird (Mademoiselle Fleury in Algerian costume) 1882 by Renoir

Venice, the Doge's Palace 1881 by Renoir

Portrait of a young woman 1874 by Renoir

Woman crocheting 1875 by Renoir

a box at the theatre (concert) 1880 by Renoir

Marie Therese Durand-Ruel sewing 1882 by Renoir

the bath 1885-86 by Berthe Morisot

the cliffs of Etretat 1885 by Claude Monet


Comte Henri Amedee Mercure Turenne d'Aynac 1816 by Jacques Louis David

Trumpeter of the Hussars 1815-20 by Theodore Gericault

Dance of the masked dancers 1879 by Degas

Mery Laurent wearing a small toque 1882 by Edouard Manet


Jane Avril 1891-92 by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

dancers in the classroom c. 1880 by Degas


the dancer by Degas

young woman reading 1875 by Lucio Rossi
Without a doubt this is one of the finest art museums on the East Coast. It's not easy to get to but then nothing worthwhile is ever easy, right?
looking out toward the reflecting pool
the reflecting pool


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