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ometimes, a museum and its very setting inspire the art that gets featured within. Such is the case with a show of paintings at the Clark Art Institute by the late abstract expressionist, Helen Frankenthaler, (“As In Nature,” July 2 - October 9). The bucolic, atmospheric campus of the Clark, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, possesses so much natural beauty that it often competes for the museum-goer’s attention — despite the many treasures that hang in its galleries, notably its works by Sargent, Renoir, Degas, Homer, and Turner. 

Alexandra Schwartz, an independent art curator, climbed part way up Stone Hill, on the grounds of the museum, and into the Lunder Center gallery there, from which the full panorama of the Berkshire Mountains is revealed — a seemingly infinite undulation of forested hills that eventually merge with the Green Mountains of Vermont. “Landscape and the idea of the landscape were always an important aspect of Frankenthaler’s work,” says Schwartz, “and the setting of the Lunder and what you see from it are so inspiring that I thought it would be a perfect venue for a show of her paintings based on nature.”

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This story appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of MILIEU.