Years ago, when I was barely a teenager and a student at the High School of Music and Art, my parents organized an outing to a recently opened museum in the Berkshires. “It has some wonderful Impressionist paintings,” my father told me; I knew about them from New York museums. I have only fragmentary memories of that first visit to what I later learned was called the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, but I recall the excitement of arriving—after what seemed like an interminable drive—at a symmetrical white building in a bucolic setting. I can...


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