Homer and Sargent at the Clark
Post #1240 • October 1, 2008, 2:02 PM • 10 Comments
Williamstown, MA - I don't have my copy of The Art Spirit handy, so I'll have to paraphrase Robert Henri, who said (roughly) that the spiritual is not always seen through a mist. So to complement Like Breath on Glass, the Clark has installed its works by Homer and Sargent in its new, and lovely, Tadao Ando-designed outbuilding. Sargent, who is represented in Breath with a gauzy view of a Parisian promenade, went on to develop a crisper style that took advantage of his preternatural ability to lay down decisive brushstrokes. Working orthogonally to the soft painting vogue, Winslow Homer wanted to fix things onto the canvas. One painting of a couple of woodsmen shows one of them resting an ax on his shoulder, with the handle pointed as close to the viewer's line of sight as could still be called perspectival. Homer shines later in life when he figures out how to let some of the details go, but he maintains precision of shape even when painting the blasting plumes of surf at Prout's Neck. The museum could have called this show Like Knife on Wood. In any case it's a bracing contrast to the mists in the main building.