The Clark Art Institute | Williamstown, MA

225 South Street, Williamstown
Massachusetts, United States
Phone: +1 413 458 2303
closed on: Open daily, except on Mondays from September to June
Museum Type: Art, Decorative arts / Handicraft
Clark Art Institute, Clark Center building, Tadao Ando

The Clark Art Institute, also known simply as The Clark, is a leading cultural institution and art museum, located in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Above: the Clark Center designed by Tadao Ando at the Clark Art Institute; © Tucker Bair.

History and campus
The Clark was founded in 1950 by Sterling and Francine Clark to both publicly display their remarkable collection of American and European art and as a research and educational center.
Over time, the institute has earned a great reputation for its activities and its premises have been progressively enlarged, becoming a 140-acre campus. The center also includes the CEVA (Center for Education in the Visual Arts), a learning facility for museum and art professionals.

The campus of the institution currently contains four main buildings, surrounded by meadows, ponds, and woodland and connected by trails and pedestrian paths.

The Museum Building is a large neoclassical construction completed in 1955 after a design by NYC architect Daniel Deverell Perry and completely renovated by Selldorf Architects in 2014.

Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, museum building exterior

Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, museum building plan

Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, museum building interior

Museum Building, exterior view from the west, ground-floor plan, and interior view of the entrance space; images courtesy of Selldorf Architects.

Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, panoramic view

A panoramic view of the campus of the Clark Art Insitute with, left to right, The Lunden Center, the Museum Buiding, and the Manton Research Center. Image courtesy of Selldorf Architects.

Designed by Pietro Belluschi and The Architects Collaborative and opened in 1973, the Manton Research Center is a building adjacent to the museum and mainly dedicated to the graduate program in the history of art the Clark Art Institute organizes in collaboration with Williams College. The Manton Center houses a library, seminar rooms, galleries, administration offices, and a 282-seat auditorium.

The Lunder Center at Stone Hill is a 32,000-square-foot building opened in 2008 and designed by Tadao Ando. The center houses the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, a multi-purpose space for artmaking and community use, and a cafe.

Clark Institute; Stone Hill Center; Williamstown; Massachusetts; Tadao Ando Architect

The east facade of the Lunder Center at Stone Hill; © Jeff Goldberg – ESTO.

Opened in 2012, the Clark Center is a single-story concrete-and-glass building designed by Tadao Ando together with landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand. Housing 7,500 square feet of gallery space, along with being the campus’ visitor center, the building is used for temporary exhibitions, conferences, performances, and special events; it also contains a cafe and a book & gift store.

Clark Art Institute, Clark Center building and pool, Tadao Ando

The Clark Center (on the left) and the Museum Building (on the right), view across the upper mirror pool; © Tucker Bair.

Clark Art Institute, Clark Center building, Tadao Ando, ground floor plan

Ground floor plan of the Clark Center (on the left). Image Tadao Ando Architect & Associates.

Clark Art Institute, Clark Center building, Tadao Ando, interior

Interior view of the Clark Center; photo © Tucker Bair.

Overall, the campus and its buildings were designed and/or refurbished with sustainability in mind, an approach that earned the  Clark Center the LEED Gold Certification in 2016.
An example of such attention to sustainability by either the client or the architects is the ingenious rainwater harvesting and reuse system of the campus.

Clark Art Institute, sustainability, rainwater harvesting system diagram

The Clark Art Institute, Hydrology/rainwater harvesting diagram. Rainwater is collected by the campus’ artificial ponds and buildings’ roofs, stored in a reservoir, recycled, and/or reused for WC flushing, irrigation, and as a thermal mass for heating & cooling systems.


The collection of the Clark Art Institute
The permanent collection of the Clark comprises paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and objects of decorative arts, made from the 14th century to the early 20th century, mostly by European and American artists.
Among the most notable pieces on view at the museum, there are famous works by Sandro Botticelli, Hans Memling, Piero della Francesca, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Jan Gossaert, Domenico Tiepolo, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Francisco Goya, William Blake, John Constable, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Alfred Sisley, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Édouard Manet, Winslow Homer, and John Singer Sargent, among others.
Highlights from the permanent collection are usually presented in the museum’s semi-permanent exhibition.

The program of events of the Clark Art Institute includes temporary exhibitions, educational activities for adults and children, guided tours, and special events
The campus also contains two cafe-restaurants and a shop.
The museum is fully accessible to physically impaired people; additionally, a limited number of wheelchairs are available free of charge.

Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, Italian Renaissance painting gallery

The Italian Renaissance painting room of the museum’s permanent exhibition. Among the paintings on view, there are the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels by Piero della Francesca (on the left) and the Dead Christ with Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (Sepulcrum Christi) by Perugino (on the right).

Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, interior 2

Another view of the permanent exhibition.

Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, applied arts gallery

One of the rooms dedicated to applied and decorative arts.
Photos by Mike Agee, courtesy of Selldorf Architects.

All images courtesy of The Clack Art Institute.

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copyright Inexhibit 2022 - ISSN: 2283-5474