Rodin, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Pissarro, Singer Sargent. If names like these catch your attention, you should consider a visit to The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. Not only is it one of the country’s most important art museums, it’s also within driving distance of our Berkshires inn!
You would be hard pressed to find a finer art museum in the area – or much of anywhere! – than The Clark. The museum holdings span from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century and includes European and American paintings, drawings, sculpture, photographs, prints, and more.
The collection is particularly strong in French Impressionist and Academic paintings, British oil sketches, drawings, and silver. It also includes an extensive collection of works by American artists Winslow Homer, George Inness, and John Singer Sargent.
It is also home to more than 1,000 European and American photographs from the 1840s through the 1910s, including important works by Eugène Atget, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gustave Le Gray, Nadar, Alfred Stieglitz, and others.
Robert Sterling and Francine Clark, heirs to the Singer sewing machine fortune founded the Clark Art Institute in 1955. The couple had been collecting fine art since the early 1900’s and wanted a safe place to both store and share their extensive collection.
Visiting The Clark
Few museums in the country can rival The Clark collection. It includes more than 6,000 works from some of the most important and celebrated artists in history. First time visitors will be delighted to realize that the museum and grounds are works of art on their own.
The 140 acre, landscaped campus is surrounded by entrancing meadow, forest, and mountain vistas. Buildings on the campus include the marble gallery building and the Manton Research Center, which houses the library and research programs. Two more recent additions, are the stunning Lunder Center at Stone Hill and the Clark Center.
The 42,600-square-foot Clark Center serves as main entrance and campus centerpiece. The Clark Center has more than 11,000 square feet of gallery space. It connects to the original Museum Building via the stunning, glass museum pavilion.
The delightful Lunder Center, designed as a quiet sanctuary nestled in the woods, is home to two galleries and a seasonal terrace café offering light lunch fare. Café 7, on the lower level of the Clark Center, also offers casual dining on the grounds.
The campus includes walking trails, suitable for both hiking and cross-country skiing, and a three-tiered, one-acre reflecting pool. The pool area is a favorite for visitors, who stop by to relax or enjoy a picnic lunch. A variety of outdoor sculpture can also be found here and there on the grounds.
The Clark Art Institute
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA, just a little under an hour’s drive from our Berkshires bed and breakfast.
It would be very easy to make a great day-trip out of a visit. There are lots of other attractions along the way: Arrowhead, The Berkshire Museum, Ventfort Hall, The Mount, and much more. Let us know your interests and we’ll help you plan a fun itinerary!