ArtBeat: “Van Gogh and Nature” @ the Clark Art Institute [Get Visual]
Review by David Brickman
Here’s what’s obvious: You must not miss Van Gogh and Nature at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., which ends its exclusive run there on Sunday (September 13). Simply put, you will never get another chance to see such a breathtaking collection of this artist’s work – gathered from all over the world – together again. Ever.
Here’s what may be less obvious: The title of the show, and its claim to being “the first exhibition devoted to the artist’s abiding exploration of nature in all its forms” are off the mark. Take, for example, the brilliant painting reproduced above. The sky and mountains are not wrought by human intervention, however personally interpreted by the painter, and the wind ruffling the many plants below that sky is all natural. But what about those plants, and that landscape they inhabit? This is not by any means a natural place. It is dominated by a cultivated wheatfield, cypresses, and olive trees that were, I’m fairly certain, planted by people, in a place that was most likely clear cut centuries before Vincent laid eyes on it. Is this nature?