On Labor Day we took a couple of days off and drove to our favorite haunt, the Brook Farm Inn at Lenox, Mass., in the Berkshire Mountains, where I have been a guest for over 25 years. And in perfect weather!
We spent most of one day at our favorite museum, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, better known as "The Clark." This year's summer exhibit is Like Breath on Glass, "the first exhibition to examine 'painting softly,' a distinctive approach to painting exemplified in works by James McNeill Whistler and George Inness," as well as others "emulating" Whistler, including Edward Steichen whom I only was aware of as photographer until now.
“Paint should not be applied thick. It should be like breath on the surface of a pane of glass.”
James McNeill Whistler
An excellent New York Times review:
A blissful exhibit of late-19th- and early-20th-century paintings and a serene new building by Tadao Ando, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
The museum's permanent collection in the Main Galleries is a delight. An overview. We first missed my travel companion's favorite painting, John Singer Sargent's Fumée d'Ambre Gris, only to find out that it was part of a temporary installation at the new Stone Hill Center, Homer and Sargent from the Clark. (I don't care particularly for Winslow Homer though.) The Stone Hill Center houses the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC), the largest regional conservation center in the country. While I'm in general partial to contemporary architecture, I think this building, designed by Tadao Ando, is not one of the successful ones: I disagree with the New York Times reviewer here.
There was also the special installation in the museum's main galleries: Visions of the Stage: Prints and Drawings, 1600-1800, which fascinated me.
And of course The Women of Amphissa, as well as other 19th century art on the classics such as William Bouguereau's Nymphs and Satyr and Aimé Jules Dalou's Bacchus and Ariadne. And my favorite pianoforte by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
Mountain view from the Stone Hill Center
We did enjoy the out-of-season – October fall colors will be next – opportunity to get a good table at the better restaurants, and on our way home we did some shopping: At the Berkshire Mountain Bakery at Housatonic, Harney & Sons Fine Tea and their Tea Shop and Tasting Room in Millerton, N.Y., at the junction of routes 44 and 22 where we sampled and lunched, and a few miles down on Route 22 at McEnroe's Organic Farm where unfortunately two of the meat freezers had conked out and thus no lamb which I like to stock my own freezer with. Oh well, one can't have everything …