Monday, July 17, 2017

Larking at the Clark

https://www.marlboromusic.org/visit/clark-art-institute/
Michael and I had a glorious 30th anniversary celebration over the weekend in Williamstown, MA. Two days at the ever-fabulous Clark Art Institute, feasting at Coyote Flaco etc., lots of walks around Williamstown. (If you go and are of a literary bent, St. John's has a splendid Bunyan "Pilgrim's Progress" window, and there are fabulous John Martin mezzotints of "Paradise Lost" hidden away in a little gallery in the Clark cellar.) Special exhibits on Alma-Tadema, Picasso, and Frankenthaler are on at the moment. Bemused by several pieces that suggested how much Sendak learned from Picasso.... The collection is splendid, with wonderful works by Ghirlandaio, the Master of the Embroidered Foliage, Pesellino, Gainsborough, Homer, Inness, Singer Sargent, and many more.

I discovered that a person cannot get away from Cooperstown in Williamstown, and not only because Sterling Clark was brother to Stephen Clark, who founded so much in Cooperstown with their father's share of the Singer fortune. Saw a stone-and-bronze monument to Ulysses Grant (Negro Leagues star) that mentioned The Baseball Hall of Fame, and three paintings by local painter Tracy Helgeson were hanging in the front window of Greylock Gallery. 

That was my third and longest visit to the Clark. If you have not been, it is well worth the trip. And there are now trails and a big reflecting pool and new galleries and study areas. I came home with books about the Clark collection, Dürer, and Owen Jones's The Grammar of Ornament.

6 comments:

  1. Only a glitch in time puts it that way; I prefer to think Sendak came first, foresaw cubism and opted instead for that most difficult of targets: simultaneously to please children and adults.

    But were these somewhat intellectual experiences informed by thirty years of connubialism? Thoughts like: "Just imagine, in Year Zero I didn't even know Frankenthaler existed!"

    But there I go, infecting your happiness with my gloom. Reflecting that I'm coming up to Year Fifty-Eight and I still don't know who Frankenthaler is. Sustained nevertheless by the belief that I can come here and confess my ignorance, knowing you will be kind. That there is is a developing role for me at The Palace at 2 am as Shakespearean Fool. That greatness may eventually be thrust upon me. Or if not greatness, humility.

    I jest, Master, I jest. Millennia will pass and I'll still be a male version of Lady Catherine de Burgh.

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    1. Little pieces of prints reminded me of Sendak, but especially a little girl holding up a candle in the etchy darkness. Wasn't what I expected to think!

      I'm not a big fan of a great swaths of Modernists, but I do like Japanese woodblocks, and the Frankenthaler work was all carried out by Japanese artisans in woodblock printing.

      You would have liked the remains of an Alma Tadema music room... Fabulous piano!

      Lady Catherine! You are ever amusing. Don't know who I would have been in Austen. Probably some young idiot who doesn't get the rules and falls off the edge of the world.

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  2. Thanks for adding to my itinerary for a jaunt through New England planned for September before the leaf changing hoards clog up the roads, hotels, and restaurants.

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    1. The Clark is well worth seeing--it takes a couple of days to see the whole thing, so if you don't have that, take a look at their site to plan out what you most want to see. Some gorgeous medieval masterpieces and lots of more modern work--wonderful Gainsborough, Singer Sargent, Homer, etc.--as well as cunning hard paste porcelains and more. If you stayed three days, you could relax and do the trails as well.

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  3. Sounds like a great mini-vacation!

    I've spent time in Williamstown (long-ago romance), but I was too callow to know the Clark was there. Still, I'll never forget that drive west through the mountains along streams and around hairpin turns, and a remoteness that, before 24/7 Internet access, I simply wasn't ready for yet...

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    1. Strange how a weekend can feel so long and far away...

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.