enoir rubs elbows with Rodin. The reflecting pool glows between northeast granite and classical marble — and cows graze in the pasture. The Clark Art Institute has opened its doors to a collection of Impressionists, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent and more since the 1950s, on 140 acres of lawns and meadows, lily pond and pastures, and miles of trails.
In 2010, the museum widened its campus, newly redesigned by a Japanese living legend, architect Tadao Ando — and it now holds international shows, taking a close look at artists from Vincent Van Gogh to bronze-age China.
Art also inspires music, theater, film and conversation here year round, in partnership with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williams College and Images Cinema.
The museum began with the collection of Sterling Clark (heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune) and his wife, Francine. A family tie to Williams College brought them here, and the museum has grown in close connection with Williams College’s influential art history graduate program.
Visiting scholars and students study here and often give talks on the permanent collection and exhibits, and the museum has an extensive art library open to all, as well as a bookstore, café and museum shop, and performances, films and talks year-round.
‘Architect Tadao Ando has created a minimalist Japanese and New England design unique in the country, if not the world.’
In the collection — Medieval to Monet to Modern
In summer and winter, its rotating shows can reveal women artists in Paris,
ancient Chinese bronzes, Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui’s brilliant contemporary mosaics … and year-round for the Clark is known for Renoir and his fellow Impressionists, Degas’ Little Dancer, American 19th-century painters like Winslow Homer and more.
This winter, the Clark is pairing two English painters who turned the tradition of landscape on its head — Joseph Turner, a London working-class boy, filled active scenes with a vivid abstract energy, and John Constable, married and settled on the coast, painted the shore and farms and fields around him as they really were.
Stone Hill and trails
The cows are out to pasture. Inside, Monet’s water lilies may float on the walls — outside they float in a pond with bullfrogs. Around the museum, Stone Hill rises into 140 acres of woods and fields.
Paths around the Lunder Center on Stone Hill connect with several miles of trails on the museum’s campus and through the woods. Locals hike and snowshoe here all year and look out over the valley, or rest in the stone chair, or fly a kite in the open fields.
Events year-round at the Clark
Blacksmithing, plein air, snowshoeing … art gets hands-on at the Clark. Artists and curators talk about the work in the galleries — and they explore it indoors and outdoors. And on the first Sunday of each month, fall to spring, the museum opens free with family and art activities relating to the shows and the season.
Films here and at Images Cinema look into artists’ lives, and scholars visiting from around the world talk about their own discoveries. The museum hosts live broadcasts of the London National Theater, the Metropolitan Opera and more, and live concerts and performances all year.