Located in Williamstown, Mass. the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has undergone an amazing transformation. If you have never visited, or if it has been a few years since you visited, you will be astonished by how much things have changed. It isn’t that apparent when you see the original building from the front but you will notice that the entrance and parking location have changed and that is just the beginning.
The new exhibition space is exceptionally bright, airy and open and you will just have to stand in the lobby for a few seconds or as we did, sit on one of the benches and take it all in. It is quite breathtaking.
Visitors between October 25, 2015 and April 10, 2016 will have the opportunity to enjoy the lasted exhibition entitled “An Eye For Excellence: Twenty Years of Collecting”. This exhibition has brought together 118 of the finest pieces that have come into the collection from 1995-2015. Included are photographs, decorative arts, paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture- a little something for every taste in art.
This exhibition explains not only about each piece but how the pieces came to be here at The Clark. The first room also includes a timeline to place the exhibition in perspective.
As you stroll through the eight rooms of exhibits you will take two historic journeys, one journey from 1995 to 2015 of acquisition and the second from the Renaissance through the 20th century in art. What was particularly appealing about this exhibition beyond the quality of the art on display was the thoughtfulness of placement within the exhibition.
The colors of the walls enhance the art and either provide eye-popping contrast as is the case in the first room with burgundy red walls and the creamy sculpture and again in with the blue gray walls that make the blues in the cabinet pieces really seems to jump off the canvas.
The third room is done in purple and looks very regal, quite the perfect setting for a gold Meissen tea set, a sterling silver toilet set and an impressive French portrait.
The rooms contained both art on the walls and decorative arts in cases or on the floor. This is a very effective way to present the items. It was a feast for the eyes in every room. Of course everyone will have their favorite pieces. Among my favorites were the English watercolors, the Stieglitz photographs and a portrait by Winslow Homer. But what took my breath away was the grand piano. Designed by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema it is in the words of the press “splendid, remarkable and superb”. I can only add my own feeble, “you need to see it for yourself to truly appreciate its magnificence”.
I think many wondered how The Clark would follow their Van Gogh Exhibit, they have answered that with a splendid exhibition that will engage and impress visitors with it quality and scope. Plan to have lunch or afternoon tea at their lovely café and allow time to enjoy the walking trails.