One goes to the Farnsworth Art Museum, in Rockland, Maine, expecting to see examples of the Wyeth clan. But the featured shows can range widely. Last year they put on a Marguerite Zorach show that I’m still kicking myself for missing. Their 2010 exhibition of Alex Katz remains, for me, definitive. Katz can be off-putting, but when one of his works puts me off I have memories of enormous scenes of forests silhouetted by dusk and his Monet-homaging water lily paintings to soften the blow.

As strong as are this year’s shows, the big news is the Farnsworth director Christopher Brownawell’s recent rehanging of the permanent collection, which has benefited from the largesse of Rocklanders for seven decades. There is a scintillating Prendergast watercolor, a muscular Bellows oil, and a Fairfield Porter seascape of the sort of verve that prompts one to wonder why he...


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