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MFA Images: Women in Art

  • MFA Images: Women in Art - Slide

  • Eleanor

    1907

    Frank Weston Benson (American, 1862–1951)

    Description

    A sparkling icon of wholesome American girlhood, Frank Weston Benson’s Eleanor depicts the painter’s daughter on the porch of their summer home at North Haven, Maine. Benson won national acclaim for his sunny scenes of healthy children enjoying an outdoor country life, and Eleanor is one of his most beloved images. It was purchased for the MFA’s collection almost immediately after it was finished.
    At the time, Benson, along with his friend Edmund Charles Tarbell [23.532], was one of the chief instructors of painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He was also an alumnus of the school who, like many of his contemporaries, went on to complete his artistic education in Paris. In the 1890s Benson developed his characteristic style, combining the bright colors and fluid brushwork of French Impressionism with the firm foundation in academic figure painting he had learned at the Académie Julian. In 1898 Benson and Tarbell became founding members of the Ten. This band of American painters was dedicated to promoting and exhibiting their work outside of the traditional system of juried exhibitions. The young artists had become frustrated with the conservative juries that controlled most of the major annual exhibitions, and they held independent shows in New York, and occasionally in Philadelphia and Boston, until 1919. Eleanor was included in their 1908 display.

    Benson’s portrait of his daughter is a textbook example of the manner in which most American artists adapted Impressionism. Benson esteemed his academic training and never dissolved his figures into light to the degree that French artists favored. He used a small brush to define Eleanor’s features, painting her realistically with an authentic sense of weight and volume. But Benson gave himself much more freedom in other parts of the composition: the shimmering sea and leaves seem to vibrate with intensity, Eleanor’s pink dress is loosely painted with broad strokes, and the details of her hat are abbreviated. The whole effect is vital and effervescent, much like an ideal summer day.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    64.13 x 76.83 cm (25 1/4 x 30 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    08.326

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Woman in Breton Costume Seated in a Meadow

    1887

    Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (French, 1852–1929)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    41.6 x 32.4 cm (16 3/8 x 12 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.527

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Before the Battle

    1858, retouched in 1862

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English, 1828–1882)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 42.2 x 27.3 cm (16 5/8 x 10 3/4 in.) Framed: 65.1 x 50.8 cm (25 5/8 x 20 in.)

    Medium

    Transparent and opaque watercolor on paper, mounted on canvas

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.1164

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Girls in Sunlight

    1895

    Philip Leslie Hale (American, 1865–1931)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    73.66 x 99.06 cm (29 x 39 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    53.2209

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Lullaby: Madame Augustine Roulin Rocking a Cradle (La Berceuse)

    1889

    Vincent van Gogh (Dutch (worked in France), 1853–1890)

    Description

    Van Gogh painted Augustine Roulin, the wife of Joseph Roulin, in bold, exaggerated colors against a vividly patterned background; the rope in her hands leads to a cradle. At right, the painter inscribed the title "La Berceuse," which means both "lullaby" and "she who rocks the cradle." Van Gogh once wrote, "I want to paint men and women with that something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize, and which we seek to convey by the actual radiance and vibration of our coloring."

    Details

    Dimensions

    92.7 x 72.7 cm (36 1/2 x 28 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.548

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Three Creole Women

    1929

    Marie Laurencin (French, 1885–1956 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    54 x 66 cm (21 1/4 x 26 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.569

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Young Women in Turkish Costume

    about 1862

    Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peña (French, 1807–1876 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    36.8 x 28.2 cm (14 1/2 x 11 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    30.501

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Les Vénitiennes (Venetian Women)

    1903–04

    Walter Richard Sickert (English, 1860–1942)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    45.7 x 57.2 cm (18 x 22 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    38.776

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Street Singer

    about 1862

    Edouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)

    Description

    Manet was inspired by the sight of a woman with a guitar emerging from a sleazy café. She refused to pose for the picture, so Manet employed his favorite model of the 1860s, Victorine Meurent. The style and subject matter seemed crude to academic critics when the painting was exhibited in 1863. But Manet's friend, the novelist and critic Emile Zola, admired its formal beauties and its apparent confrontation with real life.

    Details

    Dimensions

    171.1 x 105.8 cm (67 3/8 x 41 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    66.304

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Young Woman Resting in a Music Room

    Alfred Stevens (Belgian (worked in France), 1823–1906 Belgian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40 x 61.2 cm (15 3/4 x 24 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1970.76

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Priscilla

    about 1873

    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    61.28 x 38.73 cm (24 1/8 x 15 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    65.432

    Collections

    Americas

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  • La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume)

    1876

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description

    Monet exhibited this work at the second group show of the Impressionist painters in 1876, where it attracted much attention. Large-scale figure paintings had traditionally been considered the most significant challenge for an artist. Using this format, Monet created a virtuoso display of brilliant color that is also a witty comment on the current Paris fad for all things Japanese. The woman shown wrapped in a splendid kimono and surrounded by fans is Monet's wife, Camille, wearing a blond wig to emphasize her Western identity.

    Details

    Dimensions

    231.8 x 142.3 cm (91 1/4 x 56 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    56.147

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Susan Apthorp (Mrs. Thomas Bulfinch)

    1757

    Joseph Blackburn (American (born in England), active in North...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    127 x 101.6 cm (50 x 40 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    45.517

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mrs. Robert Restiaux Kent (Eliza F. Watson)

    about 1867

    William Rimmer (American (born in England), 1816–1879 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    76.2 x 63.5 cm (30 x 25 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    49.27

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Victorine Meurent

    about 1862

    Edouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)

    Description

    Victorine Meurent was Manet's favorite model in the 1860s, posing for Street Singer, on view in this gallery, as well as for such other renowned works as Olympia and Luncheon on the Grass (both now in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris). This portrait is thought to be Manet's first painting of Victorine.

    Details

    Dimensions

    42.9 x 43.8 cm (16 7/8 x 17 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    46.846

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Portrait of a Young Woman as Flora

    1633

    Paulus Moreelse (Dutch, 1571–1638)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    74.3 x 59.4 cm (29 1/4 x 23 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    46.559

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Mrs. Robert C. Winthrop (Frances Pickering Adams)

    1861

    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    117.16 x 89.53 cm (46 1/8 x 35 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    24.339

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Olivia Buckminster Lothrop (Mrs. Lewis William Tappan, Jr.)

    mid–1860s

    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description

    William Morris Hunt was mid-nineteenth century Boston's leading painter, highly admired for his work, his teaching, and the astute advice about purchases he gave to the city's collectors. He was born in Vermont, attended Harvard University, and joined his family on an extended trip to Europe in 1843. Cosmopolitan by nature, Hunt traveled for a number of years, studying art in Italy, Germany, and France. He worked with the French Realist painter Thomas Couture, whom he especially admired for his method of painting directly on canvas, without careful preparations in pencil. Hunt brought that spontaneity to his own art, preferring to capture nuances of light and atmosphere without finicky detail. He exhibited at the Paris Salon in the 1850s and became a close friend of the leading painter of the French Barbizon School, Jean-François Millet, who made heroic images of peasant life. The two artists worked together, and when Hunt returned to the United States in 1855 he encouraged Bostonians to buy Millet's work. He also reinterpreted Millet's rural subjects with an American vocabulary, using the rustic landscapes of Newport and Gloucester as Millet had employed the fields of Barbizon.

    Hunt also brought French sophistication to his many images of well-to-do Bostonians. Portraiture remained an important source of income for most American painters after the Civil War, and portraits by well-known artists continued to serve as status symbols in American society. Olivia Lothrop was in her twenties when she sat for this painting. The daughter of Samuel Kirkland Lothrop, Unitarian minister of the Brattle Street Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his first wife Mary Lyman Buckminster Lothrop, Olivia was raised in an intellectual and spiritual household. In 1870 she married Lewis W. Tappan, a Harvard graduate and grandson of the famous abolitionist. Tappan, who had served as U.S. consul to Java during the 1860s, was a businessman and philanthropist with an estate in Milton, Massachusetts; the couple had three children but lost two of them before Olivia herself died in 1878 at the age of thirty-seven.

    For her portrait, Lothrop stood demurely before a neutral background in a stylish copper silk dress. The dark setting and subtle colors help to focus attention on the sitter and are typical of Hunt's sophisticated approach to portraiture. He selected an elegant stance for his model, turning her to the side to feature the elegant contour of her corseted waist and full skirt. Such poses were popular with aristocratic sitters in European capitals following the example of Franz-Xavier Winterhalter, court painter of the French Second Empire. In Hunt's portrait Lothrop turns her head to face the viewer, and her serious expression, combined with her golden tiara, give the effect of royalty.

    This text was adapted from Davis, et al., MFA Highlights: American Painting (Boston, 2003) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.

    Details

    Dimensions

    158.8 x 84.5 cm (62 1/2 x 33 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    27.457

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Meditation

    about 1872

    Alfred Stevens (Belgian (worked in France), 1823–1906 Belgian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40.7 x 32.4 cm (16 x 12 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.528

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Infanta Maria Theresa

    1653

    Workshop of Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish,...

    Description

    This painting is probably one of three portraits sent to potential suitors of Maria Theresa, the daughter of Spain's King Philip IV and ultimately the wife of Louis XIV of France. In portraying the royal family, Velázquez generally painted a bust-length portrait from life, which he and his assistants would use as a model in creating full-length versions. The freshness of the colors and brushwork in this painting stress the desirability of the fifteen-year-old princess, and suggest that Velázquez was closely associated with its production.

    Details

    Dimensions

    128.6 x 100.6 cm (50 5/8 x 39 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    21.2593

    Collections

    Europe

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  • The Attentive Listener

    1879

    Alfred Stevens (Belgian (worked in France), 1823–1906 Belgian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 52.2 x 30 cm (20 9/16 x 11 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.111

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Head of a Woman in Profile

    about 1855–60

    Thomas Couture (French, 1815–1879)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    55.9 x 46.3 cm (22 x 18 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    20.594

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Martha Dana (later Mrs. William Mercer)

    1899

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    68.6 x 50.8 cm (27 x 20 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    28.513

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Mary Sears (later Mrs. Francis Shaw)

    1878

    Joseph Florentin Léon Bonnat (French, 1833–1922 French)

    Description

    The Sears and Shaw families were very prominent in the Boston area and were important patrons of the Museum of Fine Arts. Painted in Paris in 1878, this portrait was shown at the Paris Salon the following year. Bonnat was internationally acclaimed for his portraits, and he considered this to be one of his best.

    Details

    Dimensions

    126.4 x 75 cm (49 3/4 x 29 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    30.766

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair

    about 1877

    Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906)

    Description

    Cézanne's wife, Hortense Fiquet, was his most frequent model—he painted nearly thirty portraits of her. Posing for Cézanne demanded great patience, for he was a slow and painstaking worker and always required the presence of the model. This early portrait has a serene monumentality, its many small blocks of subtly varied color locked into a harmonious whole. In one of his most frequently quoted statements, Cézanne said, "I want to make of Impressionism an art as solid as that of the museums."

    Details

    Dimensions

    72.4 x 55.9 cm (28 1/2 x 22 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    44.776

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Peasant Girl Catching a Flea

    about 1715

    Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (Italian (Venetian), 1682–1754)

    Description

    The son of a woodcarver, Piazzetta created a strong sense of sculptural form by modelling his figures with light and shadow. Although he also painted altarpieces, the artist is best known for naturalistic images of ordinary life that are characterized by a dignified, sympathetic portrayal of his subjects, often peasants.

    Details

    Dimensions

    74.6 x 96.5 cm (29 3/8 x 38 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    46.461

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Woman with a Taper

    1873

    Jules Breton (French, 1827–1906 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    54 x 40.0 cm (21 1/4 x 15 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    41.115

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Edith, Lady Playfair (Edith Russell)

    1884

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    152.08 x 98.42 cm (59 7/8 x 38 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    33.530

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mrs. James Warren (Mercy Otis)

    about 1763

    John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815)

    Description

    When Copley painted Mercy Otis Warren (1728–1814), at the age of about thirty-six or thirty-seven, she was a Plymouth, Massachusetts, housewife and mother of three sons (two more were to be born between 1764 and 1766); she would later make her name as one of the first chroniclers of the American Revolution and a dedicated campaigner for the patriot cause. Mercy’s upbringing was unusual for a woman in the colonies, for she was well educated—her parents, James and Mary Alleyne Otis (whose portraits, now in the Wichita Art Museum, Kansas, Copley had painted about 1760), had allowed her to attend her older brother’s lessons with a tutor as he prepared for Harvard. She had an unconventional marriage too: her husband, James Warren, a graduate of Harvard, a prosperous merchant and farmer, and an ardent patriot, also encouraged her intellectual pursuits.

    Mercy Otis Warren began writing poetry in about 1759, five years after her marriage, but it was not until 1772 and the pseudonymous publication of her satiric drama The Adulateur in the Massachusetts Spy that her work reached the public. Over the next several decades she would pen a series of plays and parodies mocking Governor Thomas Hutchinson and other Loyalists, essays on political issues, and a volume of poems and dramas written in defense of human liberty and dedicated to George Washington. In 1805 she published her three-volume History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, which she had begun in the late 1770s and which, unlike most of her earlier efforts, appeared under her own name.

    In Copley’s image, Mercy Warren does not allude to her budding literary ambitions but rather enacts prescribed feminine roles. Her portrait offers a graceful complement to that of her husband [31.211]. Their heads are turned toward each other, and she is slightly lower in the picture plane than he. Her body is in profile, and she is dressed in a most fashionable blue satin sacque dress trimmed with ruched silk and silver braid, with a lace stole and lace ruffles at her sleeve. Both the Warrens are portrayed as cultivators: he, the gentleman farmer, stands foursquare on his property; she fingers her nasturtium vines, plants that were valued as food and for their bright, colorful blossoms.

    Copley first portrayed Mercy Otis Warren with roses—their ghosts can still be seen beneath the green nasturtium leaves—flowers that were more appropriate for cutting and arranging than nasturtiums. X-rays of the portrait suggest the possibility that Mrs. Warren originally stood before a masonry wall. The revisions in the setting allied Warren more directly with the world of nature; the flowers she tends, but does not cut, are a trope for her role within the family as nurturer of children. Like the cultivation of flowers, the training of children was the responsibility of women. Flowers were emblems of fertility—appropriate to Mercy Warren, who gave birth to sons both the year before and the year after she sat for Copley—but they were also tokens of the fragility of life and may have been meant to recall Warren’s beloved sister Mary (Mrs. John Gray, about 1763, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston), who died the year this portrait was painted. Nasturtiums were also symbolic of patriotism and thus a prophetic choice of flower for this sitter.

    Mercy Warren’s dress appears in two other portraits by Copley: Mrs. Benjamin Pickman (Mary Toppan) (1763, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut) and Mrs. Daniel Sargent (Mary Turner) (1763, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco). Mrs. Pickman and Mrs. Sargent were much younger than Mercy Warren, and were painted at the time of their marriages. Art historian Margaretta Lovell has suggested that the expensive blue dress belonged to the Warrens and that they loaned the dress to Mrs. Pickman and Mrs. Sargent for the purpose of wearing it for their portraits, augmenting it with different trimmings but emphasizing family friendships and alliances. [1]The gown is cut low, and in the portraits of both young sitters, the pale skin of their chests is exposed in advertisement of their beauty. Mercy Warren’s costume, however, has been augmented with a lace stole, a modest touch appropriate to her age and status as matron. She looks directly at the viewer; the levelness of her gaze and the determined set of her mouth suggest (at least to the present-day observer with the luxury of hindsight) the side of her character that will within a decade venture forth from the realm of such acceptable feminine pursuits as gardening and child rearing into the masculine sphere of dramaturgy, political satire, and historical analysis.

    Notes
    1. Margaretta M. Lovell, “Mrs. Sargent, Mr. Copley, and the Empirical Eye,” Winterthur Portfolio 33, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 34.

    This text was adapted and expanded by Janet L. Comey from Carol Troyen’s entry in John Singleton Copley in America, by Carrie Rebora et al., exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Harry N. Abrams, 1995).

    Details

    Dimensions

    126.05 x 100.33 cm (49 5/8 x 39 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    31.212

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  • Emma Eames

    1889

    Julian Russell Story (American, 1857–1919 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    128.9 x 163.83 cm (50 3/4 x 64 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1970.395

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    Americas

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  • The White Hat

    about 1780

    Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, 1725–1805 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 56.8 x 46.4cm (22 3/8 x 18 1/4in.) Framed: 69.9 x 59.7 x 6.4 cm (27 1/2 x 23 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1975.808

    Collections

    Europe

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  • The Lamp

    about 1891

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 32.3 x 25.2 cm (12 11/16 x 9 15/16 in.) Sheet: 41.7 x 31.7 cm (16 7/16 x 12 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, soft ground etching and aquatint in color

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.812

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • "Call and I follow----let me die"

    Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815–1879)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/Sheet: 35.4 x 26.5 cm (13 15/16 x 10 7/16 in.) Mount: 55.9 x 45.7 cm (22 x 18 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, carbon print (printed later)

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    42.352

    Collections

    Europe, Photography

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  • Afternoon Tea Party

    about 1891

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 48.4 x 31.7 cm (19 1/16 x 12 1/2 in.) Platemark: 34.8 x 26.8 cm (13 11/16 x 10 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint and color aquatint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.811

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Woman Bathing

    about 1891

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 36.2 x 26.7 cm (14 1/4 x 10 1/2 in.) Sheet: 43.7 x 30.1 cm (17 3/16 x 11 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, aquatint and soft-ground etching in color

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.810

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Letter

    1890–91

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 34.6 x 22.5 cm (13 5/8 x 8 7/8 in.) Sheet: 47.8 x 30.7 cm (18 13/16 x 12 1/16 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint and color aquatint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.803

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  • The Coiffure

    about 1891

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 36.5 x 26.2 cm (14 3/8 x 10 5/16 in.) Sheet: 48 x 30.5 cm (18 7/8 x 12 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint and color aquatint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.807

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Portrait of a Smiling Girl with Mayflowers

    1863–1903

    James Wells Champney (American, 1843–1903)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet (sight): 56.8 x 45.7 cm (22 3/8 x 18 in.) Framed: 64.8 x 53.3 cm (25 1/2 x 21 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel on paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    58.1088

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Tea

    1890

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 18 x 15.6 cm (7 1/16 x 6 1/8 in.) Sheet: 32.5 x 20.6 cm (12 13/16 x 8 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint on laid paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    M25007

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Woman Combing her Hair in Front of a Mirror

    1905

    Wada Eisaku (Japanese, 1874–1959)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color lithograph; ink on card stock

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.1358

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

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  • Woman Writing a Letter

    Wada Eisaku (Japanese, 1874–1959)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color lithograph; ink on card stock

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.1359

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    Asia, Prints and Drawings

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  • Woman with Loose Hair Holding an Uchiwa

    Wada Eisaku (Japanese, 1874–1959)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color woodblock; organic and inorganic colorants on Japanese paper adhered to card stock

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.1357

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    Asia, Prints and Drawings

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  • La Dame aux Camelias/ Sarah Bernhardt/ Theatre de la Renaissance

    1896

    Alphonse Maria Mucha (Czech, 1860–1939)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 209.6 x 76.2 cm (82 1/2 x 30 in.) Framed: 216.5 x 84.5 x 3.8 cm (85 1/4 x 33 1/4 x 1 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Poster, lithograph printed in five colors on two sheets of paper

    Classification

    Prints, Posters

    Accession Number

    1970.514

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Goni Fair: In Commemoration of the Triumph

    1906

    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color lithograph; ink and metallic pigment on card stock

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.1595

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

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  • A Lady with Black Gloves powdering her Face

    mid-19th to early 20th century

    Jules Chéret (French, 1836–1932)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 59.3 x 42.6 cm (23 3/8 x 16 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Colored crayon and India ink over graphite pencil on tan wove paper

    Classification

    Drawings

    Accession Number

    38.1506

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Cinderella

    1863

    Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (English, 1833–1898 English)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet (sight): 65.7 x 30.4 cm (25 7/8 x 11 15/16 in.) Framed: 65.7 x 30.5 cm (25 7/8 x 12 in.)

    Medium

    Transparent and opaque watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    32.409

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Duchessa di Montejasi with Her Daughters, Elena and Camilla

    about 1876

    Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)

    Description

    Stéphanie Primicile Carafa, Marchesa di Cicerale and Duchessa di Montejasi, was the sister of Degas's father. Their father, a Frenchman who fled to Naples during the French Revolution, eventually established a banking house there. This is the last of Degas's great family portraits. It is also among the most surprising. The portrayal of the artist's Aunt Fanny is without flattery, delicately balanced between austerity and empathy. Her frontal, static, focused image is contrasted with the lively bearing of her daughters, whose sense of movement is increased by the offhand way in which the artist painted, then wiped away, their portraits.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 66 x 97.8 cm (26 x 38 1/2 in.) Framed: 88.9 x 121.9 x 7.6 cm (35 x 48 x 3 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    2003.250

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Simplon Pass: The Green Parasol

    about 1911

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 40.5 x 53.2 cm (15 15/16 x 20 15/16 in.)

    Medium

    Translucent and opaque watercolor, with wax resist, over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.212

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • La Mélancolique

    1909

    Jules Pascin (American (born in Bulgaria, active in France),...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    71.1 x 58.4 cm (28 x 23 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    2002.156

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Ophelia

    1926

    Arthur Prince Spear (American, 1879–1959 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    66.04 x 81.6 cm (26 x 32 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1987.246

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Le Destin

    1896

    Henry Siddons Mowbray (American, 1858–1928 American)

    Description

    Although he would claim that during his first trip to Italy, "a fondness for the Italian Renaissance came over me," Mowbray's easel paintings reflect an orientation toward Italian art that is much tempered by French academic painting and British Pre-Raphaelitism. The decorative landscape and opalescent palette of "Le Destin" owe a debt to Puvis de Chavannes; the auburn-haired women with their aristocratic profiles and sumptuously patterned robes parallel the interpretations of late medieval and Renaissance culture painted by Rossetti and Burne-Jones (see Rossetti, "Bocca Baciata," 1980.261). Also echoing the interests of the Pre-Raphaelite painters are a preference for antiquarian subjects and a taste for decorative details evoking the Renaissance (for example the conspicuously, if illogically, placed Corinthian columns, and the tabernacle frame, whose pattern recalls Venetian facade ornamentation).
    Mowbray's presentation of the classical subject of the Fates is quite unorthodox. The Fates are usually shown as three women, not five; typically, they are old and ugly. They are often shown spinning; they would break the thread when a life was over. Instead, Mowbray shows three young women weaving a tapestry, presumably meant to signify the tapestry of life, depicting a medieval tournament or joust. The other two women have no clear identities. The standing figure at the right may have been intended to represent Fortuna, who is associated with the Fates in some accounts of the legend. She holds the golden threads from which the Fates weave the tapestry, while at left, a figure with scissors, whose role, presumably, is to snip the threads and so cut off life, consults a crystal globe. This unconventional illustration, with its mysterious subject, its iridescent, unnatural palette, and its figures at once alluring and forbidding, parallels the fin-de-siecle tendency in England and France toward sensational or at least self-consciously strange images of women.

    This text has been adapted from C. Troyen in T. Stebbins, et al., "The Lure of Italy: American Artists and the Italian Experience, 1760-1914," exhibition catalogue, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1992.

    Details

    Dimensions

    75.88 x 102.87 cm (29 7/8 x 40 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1979.39

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    Americas

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  • Mrs. James Henry Lancashire (Sarah Hale Wright)

    about 1910

    Ignaz Marcel Gaugengigl (American (born in Germany), 1855–1932)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    141.29 x 98.11 cm (55 5/8 x 38 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1983.372

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Simplon Pass: Reading

    about 1911

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 51 x 35.7 cm (20 1/16 x 14 1/16 in.)

    Medium

    Translucent and opaque watercolor, with wax resist, over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.214

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Simplon Pass: The Tease

    about 1911

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 40.2 x 52.9 cm (15 13/16 x 20 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Translucent and opaque watercolor, with wax resist, over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.216

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Butterfly (Costume Design for Anna Pavlova)

    1913

    Léon Nikolaievitch Bakst (Russian, 1866–1924 Russian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 28 x 45 cm (11 x 17 11/16 in.)

    Medium

    Opaque and transparent watercolor with graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    14.701

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    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Hindu Ballet, No. 2

    1913

    Léon Nikolaievitch Bakst (Russian, 1866–1924 Russian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 31.2 x 23.9 cm (12 5/16 x 9 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Opaque and transparent watercolor, silver paint, and graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    39.645

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    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Madame Bartet as Bérénice

    1913

    Léon Nikolaievitch Bakst (Russian, 1866–1924 Russian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 48.9 x 33.3 cm (19 1/4 x 13 1/8 in. )

    Medium

    Opaque and transparent watercolor, gold paint, and graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    14.403

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    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Cashmere Shawl

    1911

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 50.7 x 35.5 cm (19 15/16 x 14 in.)

    Medium

    Translucent watercolor, with touches of opaque watercolor and wax resist, over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.227

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Garden Wall

    1910

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 40.2 x 53 cm (15 13/16 x 20 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Translucent and opaque watercolor, with wax resist, over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.222

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Open Window

    1921

    Elizabeth Vaughan Okie Paxton (American, 1877–1971 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    61.59 x 46.35 cm (24 1/4 x 18 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1997.173

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Harmony in Flesh Colour and Red

    about 1869

    James Abbott McNeill Whistler (American (active in England),...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    39.69 x 35.56 cm (15 5/8 x 14 in.)

    Medium

    Oil and wax crayon on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    60.1158

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Cornelia M. Walter (Mrs. William B. Richards)

    about 1850

    Thomas Ball (American, 1819–1911 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    127.32 x 102.23 cm (50 1/8 x 40 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    12.424

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The New Necklace

    1910

    William McGregor Paxton (American, 1869–1941 American)

    Description

    William McGregor Paxton first studied art with Dennis Miller Bunker [91.130] at the Cowles Art School in Boston, one of several independent academies that modeled themselves after the educational institutions of Paris. Paxton followed his teacher’s example and continued his training in France at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under the tutelage of one of the most famous French academicians, Jean-Léon Gérôme [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=Jean-L%C3%A9on%20G%C3%A9r%C3%B4me&objecttype=54]. There he perfected his technical knowledge of the human form and his preference for tightly painted, highly finished figure compositions. Upon his return to Boston, Paxton joined his older colleagues Edmund Tarbell [1985.66] and Frank Weston Benson [08.326] as an instructor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
    Like many of his Boston colleagues, Paxton found inspiration in the work of the seventeenth-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Paxton was fascinated not only with Vermeer’s imagery, but also with the system of optics he employed. He studied Vermeer’s works closely, and discovered that only one area in his compositions was entirely in focus, while the rest were somewhat blurred. Paxton ascribed this peculiarity to “binocular vision,” crediting Vermeer with recording the slightly different point of view of each individual eye that combine in human sight. He began to employ this system in his own work, including The New Necklace, where only the gold beads are sharply defined while the rest of the objects in the composition have softer, blurrier edges.

    Paxton crafted his elaborate compositions with models in his studio, and the props he used, particularly the pink Chinese jacket, appear in several different paintings. Here he has implied a narrative, involving the discarded letter and the necklace. But Paxton allows each viewer to fashion his or her own story; he does not indicate whether the jewelry is a gift from an admirer or a purchase, or what the girl in green might advise her friend. In this way, he also emulates Vermeer, whose narratives are often ambiguous. Paxton enhanced his connection to Dutch art by including paintings within his painting and by selecting a hand-carved frame in a Dutch style for The New Necklace. His image, carefully composed and crafted, was meant to bring beauty and tradition to its lucky owner.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    91.76 x 73.02 cm (36 1/8 x 28 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    22.644

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    Americas

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  • Mask of Queen Malakaye

    664–653 B.C.

    Description

    Gilded silver mask of Queen Malakaye who wears a striated wig and broadcollar.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13 x 11.5 x 3.9 cm (5 1/8 x 4 1/2 x 1 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Gilt silver

    Classification

    Tomb equipment, Masks

    Accession Number

    20.1059a

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • The Gleaner

    1865

    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    53.66 x 38.73 cm (21 1/8 x 15 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    15.1

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Study of a Young Woman's Head

    about 1895

    Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (English, 1833–1898 English)

    Description

    Influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite style, Burne-Jones presented idealized feminine beauty in his art. This work focuses on the beauty of the subject by depicting her profile against a diffused blue background. Her haunting, sensuous femininity is characteristic of the Pre-Raphaelite portrayal of women.

    Details

    Dimensions

    61 x 45.7 cm (24 x 18 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    05.105

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Girl Reading

    1909

    Edmund Charles Tarbell (American, 1862–1938 American)

    Description

    In a 1921 letter to MFA director Arthur Fairbanks, Tarbell wrote of Girl Reading: “I think it the best single figure I ever painted.”[1]Executed in 1909, the work illustrates Tarbell’s return to a figural style reminiscent of his early art training in both Boston and Paris, and serves as a pivotal work in his early-twentieth-century oeuvre. The smooth application of paint, muted tones, and soft, glowing light link the painting to works by close friends William Merritt Chase [2007.7] and Joseph DeCamp [33.532], and also recall the much-admired seventeenth-century Spanish painter Diego Velázquez [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=Diego%20Rodr%C3%ADguez%20de%20Silva%20y%20Vel%C3%A1zquez&objecttype=54], while the asymmetrical placement of objects and sitter suggests Tarbell’s interest in the format of Japanese prints.
    The natural light seeping in through the window at the extreme right seems almost holy, transforming the model into a kind of modern Madonna: “Natural daylight was one of the most sacred objects in Tarbell’s artistic religion.”[2]The painting’s quiet, contemplative subject and subtle harmonies of light and color also reveal Tarbell’s admiration for interiors by the seventeenth-century Dutch masters Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch [03.607]. Vermeer, in particular, had become increasingly popular with collectors and scholars alike; fellow Boston painter and Museum School teacher Philip Hale would publish the first American monograph on the artist in 1913. In it, Hale wrote: “Mr. Edmund C. Tarbell’s work shows such skill in design and technique that one instinctively thinks of Dutch art and of Vermeer in particular when seeing it,” adding, “Mr. Tarbell’s work shows the effect of the Impressionistic movement when grafted on good old Dutch stock.”[3]De Hooch’s influence on Tarbell’s interiors is perhaps even more notable than Vermeer’s; Tarbell himself remarked that setting was primary and story secondary for de Hooch, and he emulated frequently de Hooch’s use of doors opening into other rooms, figures silhouetted in passageways, and light streaming in from one area to another. [4] Tarbell’s admiration for Dutch art extended to his choice of frames, and he commissioned from the Boston firm Foster Brothers a hand-made one specifically for Girl Reading, decorated with geometric checkered and rippled patterns taken directly from old Dutch frames.

    Tarbell used light and atmosphere not to tell a story but to paint elegant subjects with technical precision, stating once that “art should try to render the beauty of the thing unseen.”[5]Boston School artists often painted women in graceful interiors, and some scholars have criticized their works as anti-modern and anti-feminist. [6]The sitter for Girl Reading, Charlotte West, is depicted, however, as a flesh-and-blood woman in a contemporary setting, dressed in modern clothing, and actively engaged in her book. West was one of Tarbell’s favorite models and one of the few who was not a family member. She also posed for his colleague, Museum School sculptor Bela Pratt [48.350], which sometimes created a conflict for the two artists. According to West’s letters, Pratt once chastised Tarbell for working their model too hard and insisted that she would be too tired to give Pratt the pristine look he sought. As a result of the sculptor’s proprietary attitude, West did not sit for Tarbell as often as he would have liked.[7]

    West could have posed for Girl Reading either in Boston or in New Castle, New Hampshire, where Tarbell’s family spent summers. West had made the short train trip from Boston to New Castle during September and October of 1907 to pose for Preparing for the Matinee (Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana). The stark setting for Girl Reading resembles the bare walls of the New Hampshire studio, visible in a 1907 photo of West and Tarbell at work on the Indianapolis painting. [8]Tarbell’s choice of studio props—the gate-leg table, ladder-back chair, and gilded round mirror—suggest his New England roots and illustrate his awareness of the current popularity of Colonial Revival furniture in home decorating. Tarbell may have purchased these antiques with his friend Frank Weston Benson [1979.615] in Salem, Massachusetts; records show that the two painters each owned several gate-leg tables.[9]

    Although unfinished at the time, the artist included Girl Reading in the March 1909 “Twelfth Annual Exhibition—Ten American Painters” at New York’s Montross Gallery. One reviewer noted that the painting showed tremendous growth in Tarbell’s work: “in color this latest canvas is more beautiful than any of its predecessors. . .the tones are very quiet, but they seem richer and deeper.”[10]The MFA purchased the painting directly from Tarbell shortly thereafter.

    Notes
    1. Edmund Tarbell to Arthur Fairbanks, December 18, 1921, curatorial files, Department of Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
    2. Erica E. Hirshler, “‘Good and Beautiful Work’: Edmund C. Tarbell and the Arts and Crafts Movement,” in Impressionism Transformed: The Paintings of Edmund C. Tarbell, by Susan Strickler, Linda J. Docherty, and Erica E. Hirshler, exh. cat. (Manchester, N.H.: Currier Gallery of Art, 2001), 75.
    3. Philip Hale, Jan Vermeer of Delft (Boston: Small and Maynard, 1913), 229–31.
    4. Hirshler, “‘Good and Beautiful Work,’” 80.
    5. Tarbell quoted in Hirshler, “‘Good and Beautiful Work,’”, 74.
    6. See, for example, Patricia Hills, Turn-of-the-Century America (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1977), 74, and Bernice Kramer Leader, “The Boston Lady as a Work of Art: Paintings by the Boston School at the Turn of the Century” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 1980), 86, 245.
    7. Charlotte Barton West letters, 1904–7, roll 75, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
    8. Susan Strickler, “A Life that Is Art: Edmund C. Tarbell in New Castle,” in Strickler et al., Impressionism Transformed, 2001, 137.
    9. Patricia Jobe Pierce, Edmund C. Tarbell and the Boston School of Painting, 1889–1980 (Hingham, Mass.: Pierce Galleries, 1980), 87.
    10. “Art Exhibitions: New Pictures by The Ten American Painters,”New York Daily Tribune, March 20, 1909, 7, col. 1.

    Victoria Ross

    Details

    Dimensions

    81.91 x 72.39 cm (32 1/4 x 28 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    09.209

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Park Bench

    about 1890

    William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916)

    Description

    An Indiana native, William Merritt Chase became one of the most accomplished interpreters of Impressionism in the United States. Chase first adopted a fluid painterly style in Munich, where he, like many other painters from the American Midwest (where German influence was strong), trained in the 1870s. After 1885 he shifted away from the dark figurative subjects that had earned him early recognition and began to experiment with images drawn from modern life. As did Dennis Miller Bunker [45.475] and Childe Hassam [1978.178], Chase brought together the bright colors and animated brushwork of the French style with subjects that were recognizably American. He became known for both sun-filled scenes of women and children outdoors and subtle, opalescent interiors.
    Park Bench is a casual image of a woman resting in the bucolic setting of a city oasis. It was one of many pictures Chase made of urban parks in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and it is probably the painting he first exhibited in New York with the title An Idle Hour in the Park—Central Park. His audience would have been able to readily identify the rocky landscape and rusticated furniture of New York’s largest park. The preserve had been many years in the making—calls for protecting the land in the metropolis had begun in the 1830s. Twenty years later, spurred by the vanishing opportunity to create a great urban park on a par with those of London and Paris, the city bought the land and organized a competition to design it. The commission was awarded to Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who developed the landscape of gentle hills, wooded glens, lakes, and submerged carriage drives still familiar today. The park was an immediate success with city residents, who enjoyed its recreational offerings in all seasons.

    Chase used his series of intimate park scenes to establish himself as an innovative painter of modern subjects. He was doubtless familiar with the views of Parisian parks that had been exhibited in Paris and New York by John Singer Sargent and the Italian painter Giovanni Boldini. He also knew the urban landscapes of Hassam, including Boston Common at Twilight [31.952]. In Park Bench, Chase combined public and private worlds: his solitary model is lost in thought as if alone in one of Chase’s contemplative interiors [2007.7], but the setting is clearly outdoors and therefore shared with others. Chase’s picture captures a mere glance at an ephemeral scene: at any second, the viewer feels, either the woman will move or the observer will continue along the path. In this way, along with the quick flickering brushstrokes he used to define both the woman and the landscape, Chase brought the instantaneity of Impressionism to American shores.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    30.48 x 40.64 cm (12 x 16 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    49.1790

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mrs. Howard Cushing (Ethel Cochrane) (The Mandarin Coat)

    1904

    Howard Gardiner Cushing (American, 1869–1916 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    101.28 x 76.83 cm (39 7/8 x 30 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.3170

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Woman with a Flower

    second half of 17th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 22.8 x 15cm (9 x 5 7/8in.)

    Medium

    Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    60.1139

    Collections

    Asia

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  • A Girl Reading

    1877

    Frank Duveneck (American, 1848–1919)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    60.96 x 51.12 cm (24 x 20 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.119

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Reverie (Katharine Finn)

    1913

    Edmund Charles Tarbell (American, 1862–1938 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    127.32 x 86.68 cm (50 1/8 x 34 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    33.400

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Blue Cup

    1909

    Joseph Rodefer DeCamp (American, 1858–1923)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    126.68 x 104.46 cm (49 7/8 x 41 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    33.532

    Collections

    Americas

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  • A Garden

    1883

    Thomas Wilmer Dewing (American, 1851–1938 American)

    Description

    A native of Boston, Thomas Wilmer Dewing began his career as a lithographer. He first listed himself as a taxidermist and then a clerk in city directories, but by the early 1870s he had started to think of himself as a painter. He traveled to Paris for two years of study, like many American artists in the decades after the Civil War, and returned to Boston to teach at the newly founded School of the Museum of Fine Arts. In 1880 he moved to New York, where he taught at the Art Students League, later explaining that living anywhere other than Manhattan was “camping out.”[1]He and his wife Maria, also a painter, did leave the city to spend each summer in Cornish, New Hampshire, where they became integral members of the art colony that established itself there.
    Dewing was interested in contemporary European art and, especially during the early part of his career, he drew inspiration from a variety of sources: Italian, French, and English. A Garden was one of the first paintings he made in the manner of the Aesthetic movement, a style based on British models that emphasized beauty and harmonious design. English painters like Lawrence Alma-Tadema [41.117], whom Dewing especially admired, crafted flawlessly beautiful genre scenes with themes from classical antiquity. In A Garden, Dewing worked in a delicate, realistic style, employing a number of motifs common to those consciously artistic paintings: lovely women in classical robes, a marble bench imagined from Greek and Roman sources, swaying poppies, and elegant peacocks. However Dewing’s garden is hidden, detached from the world beyond the wall where bright sails can be glimpsed plying an unknown sea. The lyre-playing figure is hooded and sits before a patch of ripe melons, symbols of fertility, and poppies, emblems of sleep, dreams, and decadence. The flute player reclines gracefully near a white peacock, a token of marriage, immortality, and also vanity. Yet this combination of objects illustrates no obvious myth or legend, intriguing viewers with its mystery and exquisite grace. Instead of telling a story, each carefully chosen color, pattern, and shape in A Garden is arranged to create a poem in paint.

    Notes
    1. Susan Hobbs, “Thomas Wilmer Dewing: The Early Years, 1851–1885,” American Art Journal 13, no. 2 (Spring 1981): 24.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    40.32 x 101.6 cm (15 7/8 x 40 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    34.131

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Room in Brooklyn

    1932

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Unframed: 73.98 x 86.36 cm (29 1/8 x 34 in.) Framed: 88.9 x 100.3 x 7.6 cm (35 x 39 1/2 x 3 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    35.66

    Collections

    Americas

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  • L'Edition de Luxe

    1910

    Lilian Westcott Hale (American, 1880–1963)

    Description

    Women artists found Boston to be a particularly supportive environment for their professional activities. Lilian Westcott came to the city from Hartford, Connecticut, with a scholarship to study painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She worked with Edmund Tarbell [09.209] for two years, but left the program when she married Philip Hale [1996.332], a professor of drawing there. He supported her career even after their daughter Nancy was born in 1908, and Lilian Westcott Hale became an integral part of Boston’s closely knit community of like-minded artists. Many of them were women; one of Lilian Hale’s best friends was another woman painter—her sister-in-law, Philip Hale’s older sister, Ellen Day Hale [1986.645].

    Lilian Hale’s ethereal images of contemplative women in interiors won her much critical and popular acclaim during her lifetime, and collectors sought them avidly. She staged her compositions with models in her studio, sometimes creating both charcoal and oil versions of the same theme. A related and highly finished charcoal drawing entitled Spring Morning [65.1336], dated 1908, employs a composition similar to this one, but it substitutes a bowl of daffodils for the branch of cherry blossoms seen here.

    In L’Edition de Luxe Hale posed her favorite model, Rose Zeffler (called Zeffy), with a book in front of a window and allowed soft light, filtered by curtains, to bathe the scene in a rosy glow. These pink tones echo in the delicate flowers, the polished table, and Zeffy’s coppery hair. Carefully balanced and exquisitely rendered, the whole composition is an “edition de luxe,” just like the luxurious volume the young woman holds and to which the painting’s title refers. The composition reflects Hale’s belief in the importance of beauty and craftsmanship. Her traditional artistic ideals, however, did not prevent her from pursuing an active and successful professional career. Hale’s images of quiet women earned her national recognition.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    58.42 x 38.42 cm (23 x 15 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    35.1487

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Woman and Flowers

    1868

    Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Dutch (active in England), 1836–1912...

    Description

    In many paintings, Alma-Tadema infused the stylistic elements of northern European scenes of daily life with the contemporary Victorian interest in classical antiquity (the artist kept 168 volumes of photographs of Greek and Roman antiquities). Here, Alma-Tadema depicted a woman in classical dress leaning on a Pompeian bronze table, the model for which is now in the archaeological museum in Naples. The artist's detailed treatment of flowers, jewelry, and textiles helps to create a sensuous and highly exotic mood.

    Details

    Dimensions

    49.8 x 37.2 cm (19 5/8 x 14 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    41.117

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Leisure

    1910

    William Worcester Churchill (American, 1858–1926 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    75.88 x 63.82 cm (29 7/8 x 25 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    12.325

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Divan Japonais

    1893

    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)

    Description

    Nineteenth-century guidebooks described Paris as “the capital of pleasure,” with its thousands of theaters, dance halls, cafés, circuses, racetracks, and other entertainments. Posters advertising these amusements were made possible by the development of color lithography, a process capable of producing large editions of high-quality prints. The clever, eye-catching posters of Toulouse-Lautrec—with their stylized shapes and flat areas of color—immortalized such places as the cabaret Divan Japonais. Here, seated in the audience are the popular dancer Jane Avril and the critic Edouard Dujardin. In the background, beyond the musicians, is the singer Yvette Guilbert, instantly recognizable although the artist does not show her face. A journalist described Guilbert: “She has no bosom to speak of and her chest is quite extraordinarily narrow. She has long—too long—thin arms clad in high black gloves that look like flimsy streamers.”

    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 81 x 62.3 cm (31 7/8 x 24 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Poster, crayon, brush, spatter and transferred screen lithograph, printed from four stones in olive-green, red, yellow and black

    Classification

    Prints, Posters

    Accession Number

    68.721

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • To Tomita Beach

    1936

    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color lithograph; ink on coated paper

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.1635

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
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  • Delftsche Slaolie (Delft Salad Oil)

    1894

    Johannes Theodorus Toorop (Dutch, 1858–1928)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 87.3 x 56 cm (34 3/8 x 22 1/16 in.) Sheet: 100 x 70.5 cm (39 3/8 x 27 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Poster, lithograph in black and yellow inks

    Classification

    Prints, Posters

    Accession Number

    1990.458

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
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  • Poster for N. Lembrée, Estampes & Encadrements....Brussels

    1897

    Theodore van Rysselberghe (Belgian, 1862–1926 Belgian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 69.5 x 51 cm (27 3/8 x 20 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Color lithograph

    Classification

    Prints, Posters

    Accession Number

    1991.854

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Portrait of a Young Woman

    about 1797

    Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Le Brun (French, 1755–1842)

    Description

    Vigée-Le Brun achieved great fame for her portraits of the French aristocracy. Because women were not allowed to attend the official art schools, Vigée-Le Brun was primarily self-taught. She nevertheless gained admission to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture through the support of her chief patron, the queen Marie Antoinette. When the French Revolution began in 1789, Vigée-Le Brun fled France and spent thirteen years in exile, painting the nobility of Naples, Austria, Poland, Russia, and Switzerland. Some scholars think that the charming young woman in this portrait may be Countess Irina Ivanovna Worontzov, a Russian aristocrat who posed for the painter.

    Details

    Dimensions

    82.2 x 70.5 cm (32 3/8 x 27 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.3256

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Hope

    1896

    Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (English, 1833–1898 English)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    179 x 63.5 cm (70 1/2 x 25 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    40.778

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Isabella and the Pot of Basil

    1897

    John White Alexander (American, 1856–1915)

    Description

    The enigmatic literary subjects of artists like ElihuVedder [06.2430], William Rimmer [56.119], and Thomas Wilmer Dewing [34.131] take on a gruesome flavor in this unusual work by John White Alexander. A native of Pittsburgh who trained as an artist in Munich, Alexander first established himself in New York as an illustrator and cartoonist. He also earned praise for his fashionable portraits [1980.659], many of them of writers and actors. In 1890 Alexander moved to Paris, where he met James Abbott McNeill Whistler [60.1158], who introduced him to many of the leading figures of the European Symbolist movement. These painters and writers were interested in dreams and the imagination, and elements of macabre fantasy often appear in their work. During the ten years he spent in Paris, Alexander experimented with decorative and decadent themes, often employing the slender, sinuous lines of the Art Nouveau style.
    Isabella, or The Pot of Basil was a poem written in 1820 by the English poet John Keats, who borrowed his narrative from the Italian Renaissance poet Giovanni Boccaccio. Isabella was a Florentine merchant’s beautiful daughter whose ambitious brothers disapproved of her romance with the handsome but humbly born Lorenzo, their father’s business manager. The brothers murdered Lorenzo and told their sister that he had traveled abroad. The distraught Isabella began to decline, wasting away from grief and sadness. She saw the crime in a dream and then went to find her lover’s body in the forest. Taking Lorenzo’s head, she bathed it with her tears and finally hid it in a pot in which she planted sweet basil, a plant associated with lovers.

    Alexander used theatrical effects to render this grim scene, isolating Isabella in a shallow niche and lighting her from below, as if she were an actor on a stage illuminated only with footlights. This eerie light, the cold monochromatic palette, and the sensuous curves of Isabella’s gown all draw the viewer’s eye to the loving attention Isabella gives the pot, which she gently caresses. Isabella seems lost in an erotic spectral trance, oblivious to the world and to observers. With his strange subject, Alexander created an extraordinary and mysterious image of love gone awry.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    192.09 x 91.76 cm (75 5/8 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    98.181

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mrs. J. Borden Harriman Opens the Campaign for Woodrow Wilson

    1912

    Artist Unidentified artist, American, 20th century (American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/Sheet: 35.7 x 28.3 cm (14 1/16 x 11 1/8 in.) Mount: 44.6 x 41.0 cm (17 9/16 x 16 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gelatin silver print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1973.450

    Collections

    Americas, Photography

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  • "Au Revoir! - Costume Tailleur pour la promenade,"...

    November 1912

    Francisco Javier Gosé (Spanish, 1876–1915)

    Description

    Petit costume tailleur élégant pour la promenade, en drap chamois, bordé de zibeline. Le chapeau et le manchon sont assortis.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.4 x 19.1 cm (10 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Photomechanical lithograph with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    2004.6.5

    Collections

    Europe

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  • "De La Pomme Aux Lèvres - Travesti de Redfern," plate...

    February 1913

    Charles Martin (French, 1884–1934 French)

    Description

    La robe princesse de Redfern en velours frappé incrusté de paillettes d'argent s'ouvre sure le devant et laisse voir un dessous de mousseline de soie.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.4 x 19.1 cm (10 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Photomechanical lithograph with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    2004.9.6

    Collections

    Europe

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  • "La Promeneuse Mélancolique - Robe d'après-midi, de...

    October 1922

    George Barbier (French, 1882–1932 French)

    Description

    De Beer, une robe d'après-midi, eb crèpe; col, manchettes et ceinture en mousseline ornée de dentelle d'or.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.4 x 19.1 cm (10 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Lithograph with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    2004.53.7

    Collections

    Europe

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  • "Des Roses dans la Nuit - Robe du Soir, de Worth,"...

    September 1921

    George Barbier (French, 1882–1932 French)

    Description

    De Worth, une robe du soir en crêpe de Chine blanc, garnie de franges de soie verte, retenues par des bandes de strass.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.4 x 19.1 cm (10 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Lithograph with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    2004.42.6

    Collections

    Europe

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  • "Rendez-Vous Villa Gori - Robe et manteau, de Worth,"...

    1924–25

    George Barbier (French, 1882–1932 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.4 x 19.1 cm (10 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Lithograph with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    2004.237.1

    Collections

    Europe

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  • "La Joueuse de Théorbe - Manteau du soir de Paquin,"...

    February 1914

    George Barbier (French, 1882–1932 French)

    Description

    Manteau du soir de Paquin en velours noir et velours rose, garni de dentelle d'argent et bordé de renard gris aux manches et au bas de la jupe.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.4 x 19.1 cm (10 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Photomechanical lithograph with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    2004.19.8

    Collections

    Europe

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  • "Manteau de Libeline à col et poignets de renard...

    1912

    George Barbier (French, 1882–1932 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Legacy dimension: 9 x 5 1/2 in. (22.9 x 14.0 cm)

    Medium

    Etching with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    63.2530

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • "Grande robe du soir, corsage de mousseline chair, tunique...

    1913

    George Barbier (French, 1882–1932 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Legacy dimension: 9 x 5 1/2 in. (22.9 x 14.0 cm)

    Medium

    Etching with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    63.2543

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Jessica

    1890

    Dennis Miller Bunker (American, 1861–1890 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    66.67 x 61.28 cm (26 1/4 x 24 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    91.130

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Saint Catherine

    1896

    Mary Lizzie Macomber (American, 1861–1916 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    83.5 x 61.28 cm (32 7/8 x 24 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    98.622

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Guitar Player

    1908

    Joseph Rodefer DeCamp (American, 1858–1923)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    126.36 x 114.93 cm (49 3/4 x 45 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Musical instruments, Membranophones

    Accession Number

    08.204

    Collections

    Americas, Musical Instruments

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  • Sea Breeze

    about 1880

    George Henry Boughton (American (born in England), 1833–1905...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    53.34 x 34.92 cm (21 x 13 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    16.67

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Girl in White (Margaret Greene)

    about 1888

    Abbott Handerson Thayer (American, 1849–1921 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    94.61 x 74.93 cm (37 1/4 x 29 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    40.19

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading

    1876

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description

    Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Cassatt settled in Paris in 1875 and became the only American invited to exhibit with the Impressionist group. Like her friend Edgar Degas, she was a figure painter, attracted to intimate views of modern life. Cassatt focused on depicting the domestic and social lives of upper-class women, showing them drinking tea, attending the opera, crocheting, or reading.

    Details

    Dimensions

    34.29 x 26.67 cm (13 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.523

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Yellow Room

    about 1910

    Frederick Carl Frieseke (American, 1874–1939)

    Description

    Like several of the American Impressionists, Michigan-born Frederick Carl Frieseke spent most of his life in France, sending his paintings home to the United States for exhibition and sale. He had first traveled to Paris in 1897, enrolling at the Académie Julian, long a popular program for aspiring American artists. Frieseke also studied with the renowned American expatriate painter James McNeill Whistler at his short-lived school, the Académie Carmen. Whistler's passion for Japanese art, for decoration, and for distinctive color arrangements had a lasting influence on Frieseke's work. Frieseke also admired the French Impressionist Claude Monet, particularly for his brilliant use of color and his interest in the effects of sunlight. From 1906 to 1919 Frieseke spent his summers in Giverny, the small village in Normandy that had been Monet's home since 1883, joining the significant colony of American artists there.

    In The Yellow Room Frieseke fused bold color juxtapositions and careful formal design, bringing together the qualities he most admired in the work of Monet and Whistler. He posed his model in the living room of his own house in Giverny, which itself was one of his artistic creations. Frieseke had painted the walls lemon yellow and ornamented the room with blue rugs and curtains, a striking color combination that Monet had also employed in his home. Against this backdrop Frieseke posed a costumed model, arranged Japanese ceramics, and massed containers of fruit and flowers to create a panoply of color and pattern. The large Imari-style plate and the model's kimono reflect the artist's interest in Asian art, with its emphasis on two-dimensional design and ornament. The wealth and variety of patterns Frieseke employed, as well as the way in which the figure is not given precedence but instead merges into its surroundings, also recall paintings by Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. Like those modern French artists, Frieseke created intimate domestic interiors that use bold decorative arrangements to explore the shifting relationship between paintings as representations of the real world and as independent abstract designs. These concerns would preoccupy many American artists throughout the twentieth century.

    This text was adapted from Davis, et al., MFA Highlights: American Painting (Boston, 2003) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.

    Details

    Dimensions

    81.28 x 80.96 cm (32 x 31 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.543

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Reading on the Rocks, Grand Manan

    about 1877

    John George Brown (American (born in England), 1831–1913 American)

    Description

    John George Brown
    American (born in England), 1831–1913

    Reading on the Rocks, Grand Manan, about 1877
    Oil on canvas

    This painting, which Brown exhibited in 1892, bears a false signature of Winslow Homer.

    Gift of Walstein C. Findlay, Jr. in memory of William Wadsworth Findlay, 1961 61.1294

    Details

    Dimensions

    58.42 x 38.1 cm (23 x 15 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    61.1294

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Armenian Woman

    1882

    Frederick Arthur Bridgman (American, 1847–1928 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    152.72 x 117.16 cm (60 1/8 x 46 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1977.719

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Miss F.

    about 1910

    Ernest Lee Major (American, 1864–1950 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    101.6 x 76.2 cm (40 x 30 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1984.795

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mrs. Charles E. Inches (Louise Pomeroy)

    1887

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description

    In 1887, Sargent made his first visit to the United States as a working artist. In New York, Newport, and Boston, Sargent painted more than twelve formal portraits, aided in his endeavors by author and friend Henry James’s description of his talent and his previous success in the Parisian art world. [1]During this trip, Sargent painted Louise Pomeroy Inches of Boston. He arrived in the city early in 1887 and stayed with his friends Mary Louisa [63.268] and Edward Boit (who had returned from Paris in 1886, bringing with them Sargent’s 1882 portrait of their daughters [19.124]. The Boits lived around the corner from Charles and Louise Inches and it is likely that Boit, who was Charles Inches’s first cousin, introduced them to Sargent and may have encouraged the idea of a portrait. Boit documented the Inches’ commission in his diary and noted that it was completed by Christmas Eve, when he went to their home at 88 Charles Street to see “Charley’s wife’s portrait by Sargent,” describing it as “a beautiful picture.”[2]

    Louise Pomeroy Inches (1861–1933) was born in Troy, Pennsylvania, the youngest of three daughters of Horace and Emma Pomeroy. When she was twenty-two, she married Dr. Charles Inches of Boston, a Harvard-educated physician twenty years her senior, who become known for giving free medical aid to the poor. At the time she sat for her portrait, Louise Inches was a prominent society hostess well known for her beauty and the mother of two young sons. She was pregnant with her third child when she posed for Sargent, wearing a fashionably daring red evening gown that had been made with detachable panels to accommodate her pregnancies. (The garment, which still survives in a private collection, is an American copy of a design by the French couturier Worth.) Apparently the artist and sitter enjoyed each other’s company; both were accomplished musicians and are said to have played piano duets together.

    Sargent concentrated his attention on his sitter’s face and elegantly attenuated neck, painting her dress and arms more quickly and sketchily. The three-quarter length format, blank background, and slightly turned pose suggest French eighteenth-century portraits, which Sargent—and many of his patrons—admired. This reference is enhanced by the original frame selected for this painting, a decorative eighteenth-century style gilt frame crowned by an elaborate three-dimensional ribbon. The aristocratic fashionability of Sargent’s Boston portraits, including Mrs. Inches, was praised in the local press when they were first exhibited at the St. Botolph Club, in Sargent’s first solo exhibition, early in 1888. The critic for the Boston Evening Traveller declared that this portrait was “one of the most brilliant pieces of coloring that has been painted since the days of Titian.”[3] Writer Susan Hale noted, however, that many onlookers were “furious at the want of justice done to their friends . . . between those who thought them too beautiful and those who thought them not beautiful enough, all just speculation of [Sargent’s] method and execution was lost.”[4] Many viewers gossiped about their peer: “I think Mrs. Inches looks as if she would bring you the head of Holofernes for the asking,” Fanny Lang wrote astringently to Isabella Stewart Gardner.[5] Mrs. Inches often made the painting available for loan, although Sargent advised against asking for it again for a 1924 exhibition, as “[Mrs. Inches] rather makes a condition about my going to see if there is not something wrong about her nose—& I haven’t time.”[6] Despite such criticisms, Sargent’s image of Louise Inches projects both virtue and style. Her demure gaze and pose contrast with her brilliant crimson evening gown with its daring décolletage. In this way, she personifies the bold innocence that contemporary writers, including Sargent’s friend Henry James, found peculiarly American.

    Notes
    1. Henry James, “John S. Sargent,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 75 (October 1887), 683–92.
    2. Edward Boit, diary, roll 83, frame 1746, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
    3. Boston Evening Traveller, February, 8, 1888.
    4. Boston Sunday Globe, February 19, 1888.
    5. Fanny Lang to Isabella Stewart Gardner, January 30, 1888, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Archives, Boston.
    6. Sargent to Walter Clark, January 26, 1924, Grand Central Art GalleriesArchive, quoted in Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent: The Early Portraits (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 202–3.

    This text was adapted from Erica E. Hirshler’s entry in John Singer Sargent, ed. Elaine Kilmurray and Richard Ormond, exh. cat. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998).

    Details

    Dimensions

    86.36 x 60.64 cm (34 x 23 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1991.926

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Bocca Baciata (Lips That Have Been Kissed)

    1859

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English, 1828–1882)

    Description

    Rossetti here depicts his mistress, Fanny Cornforth, gazing at the viewer or perhaps at her own reflection in a mirror. The sensual sitter represents an idealized beauty, while the artist's use of luxurious decorative elements invites sheer visual enjoyment. Inscribed on the back of this panel is a line from a sonnet by the fourteenth-century Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio: "Bocca baciate non perda ventura, anzi rinova come fa la luna" (The mouth that has been kissed loses not its freshness; still it renews itself even as does the moon).

    Details

    Dimensions

    32.1 x 27.0 cm (12 5/8 x 10 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1980.261

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Statue of Lady Sennuwy

    1971–1926 B.C.

    Description

    Egyptian officials of the Middle Kingdom continued the practice of equipping their tombs with statues to house the ka of the tomb owner and to provide a focal point for the offering cult. Highly ranked officials also dedicated statues of themselves at sanctuaries of gods and deified ancestors. Following the experimental and idiosyncratic interlude of the First Intermediate Period, sculptors once again produced large-scale stone statues, returning to the basic forms and poses established in the Old Kingdom.

    This elegant seated statue of Lady Sennuwy of Asyut is one of the most superbly carved and beautifully proportioned sculptures from the Middle Kingdom. The unknown artist shaped and polished the hard, gray granodiorite with extraordinary skill, suggesting that he was trained in a royal workshop. He has portrayed Sennuwy as a slender, graceful young woman, dressed in the tightly fitting sheath dress that was fashionable at the time. The carefully modeled planes of the face, framed by a long, thick, striated wig, convey a serene confidence and timeless beauty. Such idealized, youthful, and placid images characterize the first half of Dynasty 12 and hark back to the art of the Old Kingdom. Sennuwy sits poised and attentive on a solid, blocklike chair, with her left hand resting flat on her lap and her right hand holding a lotus blossom, a symbol of rebirth. Inscribed on the sides and base of the chair are hieroglyphic texts declaring that she is venerated in the presence of Osiris and other deities associated with the afterlife.

    Sennuwy was the wife of a powerful provincial governor, Djefaihapi of Asyut, whose rock-cut tomb is the largest nonroyal tomb of the Middle Kingdom. Clearly, the couple had access to the finest artists and materials available. It is likely that this statue, along with a similar sculpture of Djefaihapi, was originally set up in the tomb chapel, although they may also have stood in a sanctuary. Both statues were discovered, however, far to the south at Kerma in Nubia, where they had been buried in the royal tumulus of a Nubian king who lived generations after Sennuwy's death. They must have been removed from their original location and exported to Nubia some three hundred years after they were made. Exactly how, why, and when these pieces of sculpture, along with numerous other Egyptian statues, found their way to Kerma, however, is still unknown.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Framed (The object sits on epoxy bed /structural steel pallet tubing): 21.6 x 62.2 x 116.2 cm (8 1/2 x 24 1/2 x 45 3/4 in.) Mount (Steel channel base with cross bracing 3" x 3/16"): 30.5 x 62.2 x 116.2 cm (12 x 24 1/2 x 45 3/4 in.) Overall (steel pallet and object, weighed): 170.2 x 116.2 x 47 cm, 1224.71 kg (67 x 45 3/4 x 18 1/2 in., 2700 lb.) Weight (Object and steel pallet with attaching steel base, estimate): 1319.97 kg (2910 lb.) Weight (Object (calculated by subtracting estimate of pallet weight)): 1079.56 kg (2380 lb.)

    Medium

    Granodiorite

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    14.720

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Head of Queen Tiye

    1390–1352 B.C.

    Description

    By the second year of his reign, Amenhotep III was married to his "great royal wife," Queen Tiye. We know more about Tiye than we do about any other Eighteenth-Dynasty queen with the exception of Hatshepsut who ruled as pharaoh. The names of Tiye's parents, both commoners, were proclaimed far and wide on a series of large commemorative scarabs and circulated throughout the empire - an unheard-of practice. No previous queen figured so prominently in her husband's lifetime.

    Just as many images of Amenhotep III show him as a god, this head of Queen Tiye shows her as a goddess. The attributes of the goddess Hathor - cow horns and sun disks - on her headdress emphasize her role as the king's divine, as well as earthly, partner. She even has the king's facial features. In contrast, the large enveloping wig, encircled by a floral wreath and a band of rosettes, is not a conventional goddess's hairdo but that of a contemporary lady of fashion. The combination of divine and queenly attributes intentionally blurs the lines between deity and mortal ruler.

    The head was acquired in the Sudan and is carved of Sudanese stone. It very likely comes from Amenhotep III's temple to his queen at Sedeinga in northern Sudan, where Tiye was worshipped as a form of Hathor. Her memory survives there today in the name of the neighboring village, which is locally known as Adey, from Hut Tiye, "the mansion of Tiye." The temple at Sedeinga was the pendant to Amenhotep III's own, larger temple at Soleb, about 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) to the south. Indeed, the emphasis on the queen's role as the king's divine female counterpart provided the model for Nefertiti in the reign of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) and anticipated the divine queens of the Ptolemaic Dynasty.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height x width x depth: 20.3 x 11.5 x 12 cm (8 x 4 1/2 x 4 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Peridotite

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    21.2802

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Funerary monument of Aththaia, daughter of Malchos

    A.D. 150–200

    Description

    An elaborate Palmyrene grave relief with a Greek inscription "Aththaia, daughter of Malchos, Happy One, Farewell." She wears a full tunic and a long himation (a cloak-like garment) which goes twice around her body and covers her head as a veil. Beneath this is a cloth headdress, an engraved diadem, and strings of jewels in her hair, which is looped back at the sides of her head to reveal pierced earlobes and elaborate pendant earrings. She also wears two necklaces, the outer one of gold chain with a sun-and-crescent pendant, two bracelets, three rings, and a large, circular brooch with three pendants hanging on her left breast. Her right hand is raised to her veil in a standard gesture for representations of women in Palmyrene funerary relief portraits; it may, as in Roman art, signal feminine modesty. Her left hand, supported by the sling of her himation, clasps a loop of fabric from her garment.

    Although the Greek inscription betrays her Hellenic affinities, her face and the details of carving are thoroughly Eastern. The incised relief line of the eyebrows and the rubbery folds of the neck foreshadow Graeco-Buddhist sculpture in northern and northwestern India, and central Asia. The carving of the chiton (tunic) and himation is expertly handled, but the number of tight, zigzag folds also foreshadows Late Antique and Byzantine art.

    The preservation is excellent, the surfaces being almost totally free of deterioration or deposit.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height: 55 cm (21 5/8 in.); width: 42 cm (16 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Limestone

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    22.659

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Tomb painting with scene of mourning women

    1390–1352 B.C.

    Description

    Fragment from a painted wall in the Tomb of Nebamun. It depicts a group of six mourning women standing at the funeral procession. Two women in the front kneel down to sprinkle dirt of their heads. Tears are visble on the cheeks of all the women. There are many chips. Most of the paint remains. Other fragments from this tomb are in Brooklyn, Kansas City, Princeton, and the Norbert Schimmel Collection.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height x width: 23 x 33 cm (9 1/16 x 13 in.)

    Medium

    Painted mud plaster

    Classification

    Architectural elements, Wall painting

    Accession Number

    68.555

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Vessel in the form of a naked woman

    10th–9th century B.C.

    Description

    Vessel in form of a female figure. Opening in head and hollow interior.

    Mentioned in Syria 39 (1962) 224, n.l. cf. ibid. 214 fig. 4 (59.723) and 217 fig. 7 (coll. Vermeule); 7000 Ans d'art en Iran, pl. X, no. 91, another female vessel. The ears were pierced for gold earrings. Although its use and meaning are unknown, the figure may have been identified with female fertility or with a goddess' protection.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height: 43.5 cm (17 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Pottery

    Classification

    Vessels

    Accession Number

    62.582

    Collections

    Asia, The Ancient World

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  • Dancer

    about 500 B.C.

    Description

    Female dancer (possibly a votive statuette) wearing a tight ankle-length dress without folds; many incised lines, dots and circles indicate a textile pattern. She wears pointed-toed shoes (Etruscan calcei repandi). On her head is an elongated cap. Probably made by a provincial workshop.

    Figure was solid cast in one piece; toe of the right foot has been filed off. Surface is moderately corroded; brownish patina on head, with olive green on body.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height: 13.3 cm (5 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Bronze

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    01.7482

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Figurine of a seated girl with tambourine and fillet

    about 325–300 B.C.

    Description

    Girl seated on a square block which rests on the plinth of the statuette. She wears a high-belted peplos, whose overfold almost reaches her knees. The left corner of the overfold is pulled down by a circular weight. Her mantle is wrapped around her left forearm, and in her right hand she holds a wreath and a tympanon or drum. Her hair is done in the fashion known as the lampadion, or little torch, in which a bow of curls is tied on top of her head. Her attributes characterize her as a participant at a religious festival or ceremony, perhaps for Cybele or Dionysos.
    The front half of the base has been broken and reattached, as has the right side of the block together with the wreath, tambourine, and some of the girl's drapery. The head has been reattached but is certainly the original. Irregular cracks at the sides of the head reflect the original joining of separately molded front and rear sections. Rather coarse clay, olive (greenish brown) at the surface and red-brown in the core. White slip overall, flaked off in isolated spots. Traces of pink paint on lips; pupil of left eye painted blue; hair is dark gray. Hollow. Back, molded but undetailed, except for mantle wrapped around left arm, which is fully finished. The block on which the figure sits is open below and behind (Description from J. Herrmann in Uhlenbrock, The Coroplast's Art, cat. no. 10).

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height: 12.5 cm (4 15/16 in.)

    Medium

    Terracotta

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    10.230

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Seated dancer

    late 4th century A.D.

    Description

    Seated female dancer putting on her right slipper. She sits on a stool that is set on a rectangular base with lion headed supports. Hair, sleeve-cuffs and belt of short chiton, bracelets, slippers, top and lower rim of hassock, lion-head corner supports of base all in gold. Hollow cast.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height: 12 cm (4 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Silver with gold details

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    69.72

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Oil flask (lekythos) with a woman working wool

    about 480–470 B.C.

    the Brygos Painter

    Description

    An elegant woman is seated at her wool basket (kalathos). She wears earrings, bracelets on both arms, a diadem, and an Ionic chiton and himation. She has an elaborate hairstyle, with part of her hair tied up in a bun, and long strands pulled down in the front. She pulls a long strip of wool out of a basket on ground before her. A hair-bag (sakkos) and mirror are hung up in field. The mirror is decorated with a head in profile drawn in outline, which probably represents a relief on the back of the mirror. The object hanging off her chair may be a wool-carder. Above her in the field is the Greek inscription: "the girl [is pretty])" (HE PAIS KALE).

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height: 33.2 cm (13 1/16 in.)

    Medium

    Ceramic, Red Figure

    Classification

    Vessels

    Accession Number

    13.189

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Portrait of a Woman with a Pearl Necklace

    probably 1485–1495

    Lorenzo Costa (Italian (Ferrarese), about 1460–1535 Italian...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    44.1 x 33.9 cm (17 3/8 x 13 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.227

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Portrait of a Woman Wearing a Gold Chain

    1634

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)

    Description

    As a young painter newly arrived in Amsterdam, Rembrandt rapidly gained fame for his stylish portraits of Dutch burghers. Paired images of couples were common in the Netherlands; this painting and its companion, MFA Object No. 93.1475, show an unidentified husband and wife. Rembrandt captures the viewer's attention with his vivid presentation of the woman's engaging personality and the dazzling rendering of her multi-layered lace collar and gold chain. Rembrandt's technique was already daring; he has scratched the highlights of his subject's curly hair into the wet paint with the butt end of his brush.

    Details

    Dimensions

    69.5 x 53 cm (27 3/8 x 20 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    93.1474

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Self Portrait

    1830

    Sarah Goodridge (American, 1788–1853)

    Description

    In this miniature self portrait, Sarah Goodridge (sometimes spelled Goodrich) depicted herself staring out of the composition with a poised directness, implying confidence in herself and her artistic abilities. According to the artist's sister Eliza, who also became a miniature painter, Sarah began studying art by reading a book on drawing and painting. In 1805 she moved to the Boston area where she took drawing lessons, but it was only after she worked with an unidentified miniature painter from Hartford, Connecticut, that she began experimenting with painting in this medium. Goodridge opened a studio in Boston in 1820 and perfected her artistic skills by studying with the leading American portraitist of her time, Gilbert Stuart. Although Stuart specialized in large-scale works in oil, he purportedly painted one of his only miniatures (General Henry Knox, about 1820, Worcester Art Museum) as a demonstration piece for Goodridge.
    This self portrait demonstrates Goodridge's characteristic realism, with every detail-down to the tiny wrinkles around her eyes-painstakingly delineated. The artist's evident self-assuredness was well-warranted. By 1830 she had become one of the leading miniaturists in Boston, executing as many as two paintings a week and supporting herself and her family through her art. She received commissions from such famous individuals as Daniel Webster, General Henry Lee, and her teacher, Gilbert Stuart, and exhibited her miniatures at the annual exhibitions of the Boston Athenaeum between 1827 and 1835. Such accomplishments were truly remarkable in the antebellum American art world, in which talented women were rarely given the opportunity to achieve such levels of success.

    This text was adapted from Davis, et al., MFA Highlights: American Painting (Boston, 2003) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.

    Details

    Dimensions

    9.52 x 6.73 cm (3 3/4 x 2 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on ivory

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    95.1424

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Caritas

    1894–95

    Abbott Handerson Thayer (American, 1849–1921 American)

    Description

    Abbott Handerson Thayer was one of the best-known artists in the United States during the 1890s. His art, often inspired by the Italian Renaissance and classical antiquity, fulfilled the aspirations of a country seeking to establish itself on an international stage as the new Rome. With large public buildings in classical styles, with murals, and with allegorical representations like Caritas, American artists created an image of strength and confidence that came to characterize the American Renaissance.
    Thayer first studied painting in Boston and Brooklyn, then traveled to Paris in 1875 to train at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He based his career in New York but produced much of his work in the summer studios he kept, first in South Woodstock, Connecticut, and then in Dublin, New Hampshire. The model for the main figure in Caritas was Elise Pumpelly, daughter of a well-known Harvard geologist, who also summered in Dublin and posed frequently for Thayer. The artist idealized her by dressing her in a classical Greek chiton, using its long columnar folds to give the impression of stability and strength. The two children, innocent and trustful, seem embodiments of natural purity. The setting is enlivened by Thayer’s opalescent strokes of paint, flickers of light green and blue that seem to vibrate with the freshness of spring.

    An intensely spiritual man, Thayer sought to imbue his paintings with the moral principles of his age, hoping to communicate such abstract ideals as virtue, beauty, and truth. In 1893 (along with ElihuVedder [06.2430]and John LaFarge [20.1873]), Thayer had been commissioned to paint a mural for the art museum at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, an allegorical composition symbolizing the city of Florence. That mural, depicting a winged woman with outstretched arms that protect two children, may have inspired Caritas. The image was a traditional representation of the virtue Charity (caritas in Latin), and the title became associated with this painting when it was first exhibited in Philadelphia in 1895. Thayer later wrote to the MFA asking to change it, explaining that he felt “Spring” or “Morning” would be more appropriate; [1]in 1899 he wrote again, telling the Museum’s director that he detested the picture and asking to trade it for another.[2]

    Despite the artist’s continued protestations, Caritas was highly admired from the time of its first exhibition and won a large prize in Philadelphia. When it was first shown in Boston in 1897, a group of local painters and collectors raised the funds to buy Caritas for the MFA. They explained that they felt it was of utmost importance that the finest modern works by America’s leading contemporary artists should be represented in the Museum’s collections.

    Notes
    1. Abbott Handerson Thayer to Charles Greeley Loring, December 15, [no year], curatorial files, Department of Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
    2. Abbott Handerson Thayer to Charles Greeley Loring, December 13, 1899, curatorial files, Department of Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Details

    Dimensions

    216.53 x 140.33 cm (85 1/4 x 55 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    97.199

    Collections

    Americas

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  • La Marguerite

    1853

    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    116.84 x 90.17 cm (46 x 35 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    06.2429

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
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