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MFA Images: Office

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  • Sand Dunes, Oceano, California

    1936

    Edward Weston, American, 1886–1958

    Description

    Edward Weston's extensive 1936 series of the dunes in Oceano, California, focuses on line and pattern, in this case the sinuous lines and rolling shapes created by the wind and tides on the sand. He and his fellow Bay Area photographers were early proponents of the large-format cameras and small aperture settings that produced maximum image sharpness and great depth of field. As a result, Weston's contact prints of his Oceano views possess a sparkling clarity in the highlights and a tonal richness in the shadows that transform the flowing topography into a stunning visual puzzle that is at once highly detailed yet very abstract.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/Sheet: 19.0 x 24.2 cm (7 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.) Mount: 35.0 x 40.6 cm (13 3/4 x 16 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gelatin silver print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1983.169

    Collections

    Americas , Photography

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  • Thistle (Carduus acanthoides)

    1851–54

    Anna Atkins, English, 1799–1871 English

    Description

    Anna Atkins, a trained botanist with a background in scientific book illustration, became interested in the new invention of photography as a means of recording her botanical specimens. Using the cyanotype, a highly stable chemical variant of Talbot's photogenic drawing technique, Atkins published the first photographically illustrated book, Photographs of British Algae. Atkins's Thistle (Carduus acanthoides), from her later publication British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns, is an artful presentation of a scientific subject. The featured plant spreads its bold form diagonally across the paper, overarching a smaller specimen. Its rough leaves and stems are sharply delineated against the characteristic Prussian blue background of the cyanotype, the accuracy of the representation confirming the value of the technique for scientific illustration.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 34.9 x 24.8 cm (13 3/4 x 9 3/4 in.) Mount: 48.3 x 38.1 cm (19 x 15 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, cyanotype photogram

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1986.593

    Collections

    Europe , Photography

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  • Blooming Tree

    about 1900

    Arthur Wesley Dow, American, 1857–1922

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 15.7 x 21.5 cm (6 3/16 x 8 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, cyanotype

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2006.1277.138

    Collections

    Americas , Photography

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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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  • Boats at T Wharf

    about 1915

    Arthur Clifton Goodwin, American, 1864–1929

    Description

    When Goodwin completed this canvas in about 1915, T wharf in Boston harbor was one of the largest fish piers in the world. T wharf, which acquired its name from its shape, was a frequent subject for the artist, who also painted views of Boston and New York in an impressionist style. Goodwin focused attention on the red fishing boat in the foreground and enlivened the scene by including working fishermen and a forest of masts.

    Details

    Dimensions

    40.96 x 51.12 cm (16 1/8 x 20 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1982.798

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Gargoyle, Louvre Courtyard

    August, 1921

    Jean-Eugène Auguste Atget, French, 1857–1927 French

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/Sheet: 22.2 x 17.8 cm (8 3/4 x 7 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, printing out paper from glass negative

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1987.302

    Collections

    Europe , Photography

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  • Versailles Park

    1902

    Jean-Eugène Auguste Atget, French, 1857–1927 French

    Description

    Eugène Atget is known for his photographs of Paris. An independent entrepreneur, Atget created an immense archive of views of Paris and nearby palaces and parks, such as Versailles and Saint-Cloud, for a clientele of artists, libraries, and museums. This photograph of the park at Versailles uses the compositional device of receding lines to achieve a quiet, spacious effect. Broad sweeps of pathway and sky alternate with velvety swaths of vegetation. A rhythmic punctuation of urns, tree trunks, and sculpture marks the plunge into the distance. Atget's image was intended as a document of the park, yet the dreamlike quality that imbues the photograph goes beyond the factual and resonates with some twentieth-century art movements such as Surrealism.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 18.1 x 21.8 cm (7 1/8 x 8 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gold-toned albumen print from glass-plate negative, unmounted

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1989.322

    Collections

    Europe , Photography

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  • Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 15.2 x 20.3 cm (6 x 8 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gelatin silver print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2002.826

    Collections

    Photography

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  • Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 15.2 x 20.3 cm (6 x 8 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gelatin silver print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2002.829

    Collections

    Photography

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  • Spirit Lake, north of Mount Hood, 3000 ft. up

    around 1900

    Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 15.2 x 20.3 cm (6 x 8 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gelatin silver print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2002.831

    Collections

    Photography

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  • Textile sample

    late 19th century

    Description

    Textile sample with design of bamboo and mist in red and gray on a white ground.

    Details

    Dimensions

    24.0 x 32.6 cm (9 7/16 x 12 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Silk plain-weave with supplementary weft patterning, stencil resist-dyed (katazome), hand drawn paste resist-dyed and painted (yûzen)

    Classification

    Textiles

    Accession Number

    98.331

    Collections

    Asia , Textiles and Fashion Arts

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  • Fishermen

    Yamamoto Kanae, Japanese, 1882–1946 Japanese

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Color wood engraving; ink on card stock

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.1371

    Collections

    Asia , Prints and Drawings

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  • Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome

    1757

    Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Italian (Roman), 1691–1765 Italian (Roman)

    Description

    This extravagant souvenir was one of four similar paintings commissioned by the Duc de Choiseul to commemorate his stay in Rome as the French ambassador to the Vatican. Pannini, who became the most celebrated view painter in Rome, had been trained in a school of stage designers in Bologna. He depicted the duke seated in the center of a fantastic art gallery, surrounded by sculptures by Michelangelo and Bernini. Around him hang Pannini's meticulously detailed views of Roman buildings, fountains, and monuments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Saint Peter's Square, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.

    Details

    Dimensions

    170.2 x 244.5 cm (67 x 96 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1975.805

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Shasei sôka môyô (Patterns of Plants and Flowers from Nature)

    1907 (Meiji 40)

    Furutani Kôrin, Japanese, 1875–1910 Japanese

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    25.1 x 18.5 cm (9 7/8 x 7 5/16 in.) (ôhon)

    Medium

    Woodblock printed book; ink and color on paper with applied silver and gold

    Classification

    Illustrated Books

    Accession Number

    2001.864.1-2

    Collections

    Asia , Prints and Drawings

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  • First Branch of the White River, Vermont

    1938

    Edward Hopper, American, 1882–1967

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 55.2 x 68.3 cm (21 3/4 x 26 7/8 in.) Framed: 74.3 x 85.1 x 3.8 cm (29 1/4 x 33 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    39.43

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

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  • Cloudy Sky—The Mediterranean with Mount Agde

    1857

    Gustave Le Gray, French, 1820–1882 French

    Description

    Gustave Le Gray advanced the painterly aspects of early photography. A pioneer of photographic techniques and a sought-after teacher throughout his career, he is best known for the majestic ocean views that he made between 1856 and 1858. Printed on a scale that was large for its time, images such as this view of Mount Agde, taken along France's Mediterranean coast, have a visual power that brought Le Gray international praise. The project forced him to deal with the varying tonal intensities of the clouds and sea, which were difficult to record with the available technology. He skillfully circumvented the problem by using two negatives, which he unobtrusively joined at the horizon line during printing.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 31.1 x 39.7 cm (12 1/4 x 15 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, albumen print from two wet collodion-on-glass negatives

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1997.241

    Collections

    Europe , Photography

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  • Poppies

    about 1864

    Charles Hippolyte Aubry, French, 1811–1877 French

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/sheet: 34.3 x 26 cm (13 1/2 x 10 1/4 in.) Mount: 40.4 x 31 cm (15 7/8 x 12 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, albumen print from wet-collodion-on-glass negative

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1990.603

    Collections

    Europe , Photography

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  • Frozen Niagara Falls

    1885

    Attributed to Herman F. Nielson, American, active in 1880–1910...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/Sheet: 41.8 x 49.0 cm (16 7/16 x 19 5/16 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, albumen print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1978.409

    Collections

    Americas , Photography

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  • Still in the Forest Night

    about 1915

    Gaganendranath Tagore, Indian, 1867–1938

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Height x width: 32.5 x 28.2 cm (32.5 x 28.2 cm)

    Medium

    Opaque watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.75

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  • Old Brooklyn Bridge

    about 1941

    Joseph Stella, American, 1877–1946 American

    Description

    Completed in 1883 and hailed as an engineering wonder, the Brooklyn Bridge was recognized as a symbol of the modern city by artists and writers alike. Walt Whitman, John Marin, Hart Crane, Lewis Mumford, and Georgia O’Keeffe, for example, all paid homage to this structure. The bridge was viewed as more than an icon of the industrial age, though, for its design and construction fused the new technology of its innovative cable suspension with historical references to the past: the great Gothic arches of its towers linked the Old World and the New.
    Joseph Stella was twenty when he emigrated from Italy to New York. He began to study art in the United States, then traveled back to Europe in 1909, where he saw a variety of avant-garde styles. In Paris he encountered Futurism, a method of painting that attempted to express the intangible properties of motion and speed. Although he would experiment with a variety of approaches throughout his career, Stella pioneered Futurism in the United States upon his return to New York in 1912. He settled in Brooklyn in about 1919 and began to paint the bridge with this new vocabulary, using its flashing lights and rush of crisscrossed wires to indicate movement through space.

    The Brooklyn Bridge became a recurring theme in Stella’s work and he became identified with the subject. He made numerous small studies of the span and five major oils; Old Brooklyn Bridge was one of the last. His richly colored, fractured composition not only reflects his modernist approach, but also recalls the stained-glass windows of Gothic architecture. Stella himself alluded to this marriage of the new and the old, describing the bridge as a “shrine containing all the efforts of the new civilization of AMERICA.” [1]

    Notes
    1. Joseph Stella, The Brooklyn Bridge (A Page of My Life), privately printed under the title New York (1928), quoted in Barbara Haskell, Joseph Stella (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1994), 206.

    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

    193.67 x 173.35 cm (76 1/4 x 68 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1980.197

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Wheels

    1939

    Charles Sheeler, American, 1883–1965 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/Sheet:16.51 x 24.13 cm (6 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gelatin silver print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1983.696

    Collections

    Americas , Photography

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  • Boston Harbor

    about 1850–55

    Fitz Henry Lane, American, 1804–1865

    Description

    Gloucester, Massachusetts, native Fitz Henry Lane was at the height of his career by 1850, when he executed this grand and tranquil scene of the bustling port of Boston. From the vantage of a hill in East Boston, a perspective popularized in printed views of the city, Lane suggests topographical accuracy in his carefully constructed scene of vessels dispersed before the horizon. Prominent features of the city such as the Massachusetts State House and the Old South Church are clearly visible, but Lane lowered the horizon line to convey a sense of the expansive harbor. Like Thomas Cole [47.1201]and Frederic Edwin Church [1982.419], Lane was capable of achieving an extraordinary balance between reality and the ideal. Here he delicately combines the topography of the port with his idealized version of the scene; his romantic seascape is suffused with a sense of calm and quietude.
    Lane was largely self-taught, although he was a quick study of those resources available to him. As an apprentice in the Boston lithography shop of William S. Pendleton, he was known for his careful draftsmanship that enabled him to render all the details of different sailing vessels. While he honed his drawing skills producing popular prints, Lane also absorbed the lessons of British-born painter Robert Salmon, who settled in Boston in 1828 and flourished as a marine painter [27.356]. Lane’s Boston Harbor recalls Salmon’s handling of topographical details and his use of familiar devices, such as the small boat being rowed toward the horizon that provides a sense of scale.

    Lane portrays the calm waters with his characteristic luminosity. The elegiac quality of the scene is also typical of Lane; his paintings often depict the end of the day and evoke the end of an era. At the time Lane was painting his ambitious scenes of the major Massachusetts ports of Boston, Salem, and Gloucester, which likely appealed to patrons engaged in the shipping industry, the Erie Canal had diverted much of the traffic that would have passed through those destinations to New York. The encroaching world of steam power, which dominated the Hudson River corridor from Albany to New York City, is indicated here by the appearance of a white steam ship entering the harbor at the far right.

    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

    66.04 x 106.68 cm (26 x 42 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    66.339

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Skull and Rock-Arrangement

    1931

    Edward Weston, American, 1886–1958

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    19.4 x 23.8 cm (7 5/8 x 9 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gelatin silver print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1982.191

    Collections

    Americas , Photography

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