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MFA Images: New England

  • MFA Images: New England - Slide

  • Rocks at Newport

    about 1859

    John La Farge (American, 1835–1910)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    27 x 33 cm (10 5/8 x 13 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    35.1174

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Landscape at Newport

    1860

    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    23.49 x 31.11 cm (9 1/4 x 12 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    44.45

    Collections

    Americas

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  • View of Ipswich

    1895

    Arthur Wesley Dow (American, 1857–1922)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 12.5 x 5.8 cm (4 15/16 x 2 5/16 in.) Sheet (irregular): 16 x 9 cm (6 5/16 x 3 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color woodcut

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.712

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • View of Ipswich

    1895

    Arthur Wesley Dow (American, 1857–1922)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 12.7 x 5.9 cm (5 x 2 5/16 in.) Sheet: 15.4 x 9 cm (6 1/16 x 3 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color woodcut on Japanese paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.711

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Boston's Beacon Street

    1967 (Shôwa 42)

    Artist Matsubara Naoko (Japanese, born in 1937 Japanese)

    Description

    Edition: 39/50.

    Details

    Dimensions

    46.5 x 58.5 cm (18 5/16 x 23 1/16 in.)

    Medium

    Woodblock print; color on paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    69.981

    Collections

    Asia, Contemporary Art, Prints and Drawings

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  • Approaching Storm: Beach near Newport

    about 1861–62

    Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819–1904)

    Description

    Like many of the Hudson River School landscape painters, Martin Johnson Heade was highly attuned to meteorological phenomena. He produced this chilling scene of a thunderstorm at Point Judith, on the south coast of Rhode Island, as part of a series of compositions that depicted ominous weather at sea. Although Thomas Cole and the generation of artists who would follow him were intimately familiar with cloud formations and light effects [63.271], this scene of blackened water and eerily illuminated shoreline suggests a more potent meaning. A thunderstorm accompanying a storm-tossed boat was a common metaphor throughout nineteenth-century European and American painting for an imperiled or wrecked ship of state; the scene here is rendered with deadening calm. The three boats at full sail seem caught in imminent danger and unlikely to find a safe passage to shore. For a nation amidst the upheaval of civil war, the darkened appearance of the stormy sky also brought to mind the familiar black, sulphur-laden canopy that rose above the beleaguered nation’s battlefields.
    As the foment of war approached, popular preachers, including Heade’s life-long friend Thomas March Clark, the fifth bishop of Rhode Island, incorporated imagery of biblical deluge into their sermons, equating dark clouds lingering on the horizon with the infamy a civil war would bring. In contrast, sunlight symbolized the hope of God’s redemption. In Heade’s extraordinary scene, the blackened clouds give way to a small patch of blue sky at the upper right, and the roiling waves are juxtaposed with a supernatural glow that suffuses the promontory of Point Judith with an intense clarity.

    Of Heade’s half dozen variations on the theme of thunderstorms at the shore, this composition is the most severe and lacking in narrative details. Heade’s viewer is afforded little relief from the cloud cover and the relentless horizontality created by the ocean and the beach. Nature appears at her most terrifying and hostile, and the barrenness of the shore, which drops away from the viewer at the lower edge of the canvas, conveys the sense that there is no foothold on the edge of Heade’s abyss.

    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

    71.12 x 148.27 cm (28 x 58 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    45.889

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Near Paradise, Newport

    1877

    William Trost Richards (American, 1833–1905 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 58.4 x 68.6 cm (23 x 27 in.) Framed: 76.8 x 113.7 cm (30 1/4 x 44 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Opaque watercolor over graphite pencil on pink-buff paper ("carpet paper"), stretched and tacked on a wooden panel

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    RES.27.154

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Class Boat '62 Sophomore Year, Harvard, Cambridge, MA

    about 1860–62

    George Kendall Warren (American, 1824–1884 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image (oval): 13.5 x 18.5 cm (5 5/16 x 7 5/16 in.) Sheet: 24.5 x 32.4 cm (9 5/8 x 12 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, salt print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2004.571

    Collections

    Americas, Photography

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  • House, Harvard, Cambridge, MA

    about 1861–64

    George Kendall Warren (American, 1824–1884 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 14.1 x 19.2 cm (5 9/16 x 7 9/16 in.) Sheet: 27.4 x 34.4 cm (10 13/16 x 13 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, salt print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2004.572

    Collections

    Americas, Photography

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  • View of Ipswich

    1895

    Arthur Wesley Dow (American, 1857–1922)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    12.7 x 5.88 cm (5 x 2 5/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color woodcut

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.710

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Portland Light

    1858

    John Henry Hill (American, 1839–1922 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 20.3 x 22.9 cm (8 x 9 in.)

    Medium

    Brown and blue wash on cream wove paper

    Classification

    Drawings

    Accession Number

    2006.1239

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Graduates' Hall, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

    about 1861

    George Kendall Warren (American, 1824–1884 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 14.6 x 19.7 cm (5 3/4 x 7 3/4 in.) Sheet: 27.4 x 34.5 cm (10 13/16 x 13 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, salt print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2004.573

    Collections

    Americas, Photography

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  • Boston Public Library

    1960s

    Artist Matsubara Naoko (Japanese, born in 1937 Japanese)

    Description

    Edition: 37/100.

    Details

    Dimensions

    45.8 x 58.9 cm (18 1/16 x 23 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Woodblock print; ink on paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    69.980

    Collections

    Asia, Contemporary Art, Prints and Drawings

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  • Old North Church in Boston

    1967 (Shôwa 42)

    Artist Matsubara Naoko (Japanese, born in 1937 Japanese)

    Description

    Edition: 7/50.

    Details

    Dimensions

    46.8 x 58.5 cm (18 7/16 x 23 1/16 in.)

    Medium

    Woodblock print; color on paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    69.979

    Collections

    Asia, Contemporary Art, Prints and Drawings

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  • Cape Ann

    1920–23

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American (born in Canada), 1858–1924)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 25.4 x 34.3 cm (10 x 13 1/2 in.) Framed: 51.1 x 57.5 cm (20 1/8 x 22 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor and graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    56.1188

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Storm, Corn Hill, Truro, Cape Cod, 1976

    1976

    Joel Meyerowitz (American, born in 1938 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 19.4 x 24.5 cm (7 5/8 x 9 5/8 in.) Sheet: 27.9 x 35.6 cm (11 x 14 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, chromogenic print (Ektacolor)

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1977.592

    Collections

    Americas, Contemporary Art, Photography

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  • Bathing, Marblehead

    1896–97

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American (born in Canada), 1858–1924)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 35.6 x 50.8 cm (14 x 20 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor and graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    27.215

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Gloucester Mackerel Fleet at Sunset

    1884

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    39.69 x 95.88 cm (15 5/8 x 37 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1985.331

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Gloucester Mackerel Fleet at Dawn

    1884

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    39.69 x 95.88 cm (15 5/8 x 37 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1985.332

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Provincetown, Cape Cod, 1976 (Cemetery)

    1976

    Joel Meyerowitz (American, born in 1938 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 19.4 x 24.5 cm (7 5/8 x 9 5/8 in.) Sheet: 27.9 x 35.6 cm (11 x 14 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, chromogenic print (Ektacolor)

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1977.593

    Collections

    Americas, Contemporary Art, Photography

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  • Landscape Near Cape Cod

    about 1935

    Karl Knaths (American, 1891–1971 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 39.7 x 57.5 cm (15 5/8 x 22 5/8 in.) Framed: 49.5 x 67.6 cm (19 1/2 x 26 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Transparent watercolor on handmade wove paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    1990.420

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Sugar Loaf Mountain

    1870

    John Henry Hill (American, 1839–1922 American)

    Description
    Details

    Medium

    Watercolor and graphite on smooth wove paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    1992.434

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Cape Cod

    1925

    Grace Martin (Frame) Taylor (American, 1903–1995 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 12.7 x 17.8 cm (5 x 7 in.) Sheet: 14 x 19.1 cm (5 1/2 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Woodcut or linocut

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    2002.805

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Cape Cod Cottage

    around 1932

    Blanche Lazzell (American, 1878–1956)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 22.9 x 16.2 cm (9 x 6 3/8 in.) Sheet: 27.3 x 23.4 cm (10 3/4 x 9 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Linoleum cut, printed in black on ivory, smooth, laid paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    2002.800

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Street in Provincetown - (Cape Cod)

    around 1919

    Mary J. Coulter (American, 20th century American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 13.3 x 10.5 cm (5 1/4 x 4 1/8 in.) Sheet: 20.3 x 22.9 cm (8 x 9 in.)

    Medium

    Etching

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    2002.794

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Gloucester Harbor

    1880

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 34.5 x 49.2cm (13 9/16 x 19 3/8 in.) Framed: 60.3 x 75.9 cm (23 3/4 x 29 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    1996.458

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Gymnasium, Harvard, Cambridge, MA

    about 1861

    George Kendall Warren (American, 1824–1884 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image (oval): 15.4 x 20.4 cm (6 1/16 x 8 1/16 in.) Sheet: 25.5 x 33.5 cm (10 1/16 x 13 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, salt print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2004.570

    Collections

    Americas, Photography

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  • Bridge at Ipswich

    about 1905

    Theodore M. Wendel (American, 1859–1932 American)

    Description

    In 1898, Theodore Wendel moved to his wife's large family farm in Ipswich, Massachusetts, a rural, seaside town north of Boston. For the next fifteen years, he portrayed this typical New England village with the Impressionist color and broken brush strokes he had learned from Monet at Giverny in 1886. Like many other Impressionists, he chose a bridge as the focus for his painting - the handsome granite, twin-arched Green Street Bridge, built in 1894 over the Ipswich River. Wendel's canvas differs from French Impressionist paintings in its clarity and solidity, since American artists tended to use light and color to define forms rather than to dissolve them. However, Wendel was very much like his French counterparts in his use of compositional devices borrowed from Japanese aesthetics. He employed a high horizon line, diagonals that divide the composition, truncated forms, the juxtaposition of architectonic manmade structures with soft natural growth, and enlivening red color notes in his painting. The resulting arrangement is flattened and compressed, and the surface pattern is as interesting and important as the subject matter.

    This text was adapted from an entry by Janet Comey in Erica Hirshler, "Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting," exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, 2005.

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.59 x 76.2 cm (24 1/4 x 30 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1978.179

    Collections

    Americas

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  • View of Coffin's Beach

    1862

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    View of Coffin’s Beach is an evocative late work by Fitz Henry Lane in which topography and anecdote are subordinated to the delicate beauty of dawn hues breaking over the land and water. The painting is based on a sketch Lane made from Two Penny Loaf, a rocky outcropping at the northern end of Coffin’s Beach on Ipswich Bay in Gloucester, Massachusetts (Coffin’s Beach from the Loaf, 1862, Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts). Conservators and curators at the MFA have concluded that Lane used a camera lucida, a mechanical drawing device, to capture the shoreline with great accuracy. [1]While the finished painting replicates the outlines of the drawing, Lane widened the composition, accentuating the horizontal format and emphasizing the expansiveness of the landscape and a sense of emptiness. Lane’s subtle blending of the glowing pink-to-blue of the early-morning sky transforms a topographical study into one of his finest landscapes.
    Place, though, remained important to Lane and his patrons. On the back of the canvas, the geographical location is made clear. An inscription, now clearly identified as having been written by Lane himself, reads: “View of Coffin’s beach, from the Rocks/at the Loaf, after a sketch taken, August, 1862./Presented to Dr. H. E. Davidson and lady/by the Artist.” When Lane gave him View of Coffin’s Beach, Dr. Herman E. Davidson was an eminent physician in Gloucester. He had established his practice there in 1842 and soon became an active member of the community. He served on the school committee, was vice president of the Cape Ann Horticultural Society, and was a trustee of Oak Grove Cemetery. In 1873, Davidson was a founder and first president of the Cape Ann Scientific and Literary Association (now the Cape Ann Museum). How he and Lane met has yet to be established, but their relationship was close: Lane stayed with Dr. Davidson and his wife Sarah in their home on Dale Avenue (now the Sawyer Free Library) in the summer of 1862, the year he sketched Coffin’s Beach. Apparently Lane had had a major misunderstanding with his brother-in-law, Ignatius Winter, who was married to Lane’s sister Sarah. The couple lived with artist, but after their disagreement Lane felt compelled to leave his own home temporarily and seek sanctuary with the Davidsons.

    Lane often chose to paint sites in Gloucester of historical significance, including, for example, places such as Fresh Water Cove [48.445], named for the spring Samuel de Champlain found at the site in 1606. Coffin’s Beach, named after the landowners who established a farm there in the seventeenth century, is bracketed by the Essex River on the west and the Annisquam River on the east. In 1775, during the Revolutionary War, British loyalist Captain John Linzee (or Lindsay) sent men ashore at the beach from the sloop of war Falcon to procure sheep from the Coffin farm. Peter Coffin, an ardent patriot, gathered a handful of men and took positions behind the dunes to ward off the intruders. Their relentless volley of bullets convinced the sailors that there were more men protecting the farm than there actually were.

    It was probably the presence of John Charles Frémont, however, rather than the Revolutionary War association, that drew Lane to Coffin’s Beach in August 1862. A renowned explorer, Frémont had been controversial as a general in the Union army. He had overreached his authority and recently had been relieved of his command; at the behest of a friend, Frémont spent the month on vacation camping at Two Penny Loaf. Lane made a drawing of the camp on the dunes (Frémont’s Encampment at the Loaf, West Gloucester, 1862, Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Massachusetts) from which he produced an oil (location unknown) for Frémont’s wife Jessie. Probably around the same time, the artist completed the drawing Coffin’s Beach from the Loaf, which he used as the sketch for his painting View of Coffin’s Beach.

    View of Coffin’s Beach was given to the MFA by Dr. Davidson’s daughter, Alice Davidson Tilton, and is one of the few Lanes in the collection that descended in the family of the original owner. The painting came into the Museum as Ipswich Bay, but it has been recently retitled to reflect the location and inscription more accurately. Lane’s original titles most typically relate to his inscriptions.

    Notes
    1. See Karen E. Quinn with Sandra Kelberlau and Jean Woodward, “Rediscovering Fitz Henry Lane’s View of Coffin’s Beach on Cape Ann,” Magazine Antiques, July 2006, 66–69.

    Karen E. Quinn

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 x 84.14 cm (20 x 33 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    53.383

    Collections

    Americas

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  • A Maine Inlet

    1850s

    Unidentified artist, American, mid-19th century (American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40.64 x 62.23 cm (16 x 24 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.443

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Owl's Head, Penobscot Bay, Maine

    1862

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    Owl’s Head is one of Lane’s best-known and most admired works. He presents a contemporary coastal town with its commercial traffic, but he has greatly simplified the idyllic harbor view—a popular artistic motif—in virtually every detail. There are few props in the foreground and background to suggest daily affairs; instead, a single boatman gazes at a seemingly unpopulated bay. The distinctive profile of Owl’s Head with its tiny lighthouse is clearly silhouetted against the evening sky.
    Geometric clarity and simplicity set Lane’s work apart from landscape scenes of the previous century. In Owl’s Head, nature is a presence that envelops and transfixes the solitary boatman, but Lane’s picture renders this presence in the modest format and with some of the decorative appeal of an earlier era.

    This text was adapted from Diana Strazdes’s entry in A New World: Masterpieces of American Painting, 1760–1910, by Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., et al., exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1983).

    Details

    Dimensions

    40 x 66.36 cm (15 3/4 x 26 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.448

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Maine Coast, Winter

    1909

    Description

    In 1905, Robert Henri, leader of the New York realists called the Ashcan School and an inspirational teacher, encouraged Rockwell Kent to visit Monhegan Island, a rugged land mass 10 miles (16 kilometers) off the Maine coast. Henri had worked one summer on Monhegan, and intuited that Kent, twenty-three years old and one of the most energetic and talented of his students, would find the scenery and hardy lifestyle there to his liking. Kent enthusiastically adopted Monhegan as his base for the next five years, building a house and studio there. He wrote in his autobiography, “Monhegan: its rockbound shores, its towering headlands, the thundering surf with gleaming crests and emerald eddies, its forest and its flowering meadowlands . . . it was enough to start me off to such feverish activity in painting as I had never known.” [1] Kent often stayed on the island beyond September, when most artists left.

    Among the oils that Kent painted of Monhegan were four pictures of the headlands in winter: Maine Headland, Winter, (1906, State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg), Maine Coast (about 1907, Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine), Maine Coast (1907, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio), all depicting Blackhead, one of the large cliffs on the east side of the island, and the MFA’s painting, Maine Coast, Winter (1909), which probably portrays the same headland from a different angle. All four show the bluff covered with snow, a band of dark green pine trees, and a glimpse of the ocean beyond under bluish-gray skies. Maine Coast, Winter was made a few years later than the other works and is the most abstract. It differs from the others in its foreground, where Kent rendered snow-covered evergreens rather than a snowy field.

    Kent’s evocative representations of Monhegan under a blanket of icy blue-white snow reveal the influence of one of his other teachers, Abbott Handerson Thayer [1982.539], who painted multiple pictures of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire during winter with bands of spruce trees and expanses of snow in the foregrounds. Kent had served as Thayer’s studio assistant in Dublin, New Hampshire, at the foot of Mount Monadnock, in 1903. Thayer reinforced Kent’s reverence for nature and for the literary works of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Like other landscape painters of the early twentieth century, Kent was also conscious of the dean of American art, Winslow Homer, who was living in Prout’s Neck, Maine, south of Monhegan. Homer painted his own last heroic seascape, Driftwood [1993.564] in 1909, the same year Kent painted Maine Coast, Winter. Two of Kent’s favorite themes were also subjects to which Homer was devoted—winter and fishermen—and the bleakness and gray skies of Maine Coast, Winter resonate with Homer’s Maine landscapes, which often feature the unforgiving cold of the winter season. [2]

    In addition to painting on Monhegan, Kent also attempted to live like the islanders, finding work as a handyman, carpenter, and lobster fisherman. His pursuits on Monhegan set the pattern for the rest of his life. He continued to seek out cold, remote areas—such as Newfoundland, Greenland, Alaska, and Tierra del Fuego—in which to work, and he tried to adapt to the lives of the natives in each place. Kent’s activities on Monhegan resulted in personal growth, and his painting style matured as well. The large areas of color and painterly brushwork of Kent’s early work, as seen in Maine Coast, Winter, later evolved into a manner of painting notable for its smooth finish, stylized forms, and broad masses.

    By the mid-1920s, the eminent collector Josiah Spaulding, who had developed an interest in contemporary American art through his association with the Boston Art Club, had purchased Maine Coast, Winter. Through Spaulding, Kent’s influence spread to a younger generation. In 1926, the young artist and Harvard sophomore Fairfield Porter [1997.254, 1979.178] decided to make Kent, then sufficiently well known, the subject of a research paper. Porter visited Spaulding, where he saw Maine Coast, Winter, which he “liked very much.” [3] Porter, who, like Kent, became a realist painter and an accomplished writer, went on to depict the Maine shoreline in numerous pictures and was another important link in the chain of artists from Homer to Henri to Kent who found inspiration in the rugged coast of Maine. Maine Coast, Winter was given to the Museum with the rest of Spaulding’s collection in 1948.

    Notes
    1. Rockwell Kent, It’s Me O Lord: The Autobiography of Rockwell Kent (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1955), 120.
    2. See Bruce Robertson, Reckoning with Winslow Homer: His Late Paintings and Their Influence (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 103.
    3. Jake Milgram Wien, Rockwell Kent: The Mythic and the Modern, exh. cat. (New York and Portland, Me.: Hudson Hills Press in association with the Portland Museum of Art, 2005), 25.

    Janet L. Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    96.2 x 113.35 cm (37 7/8 x 44 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.567

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Hill and Houses, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

    1927

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 34.4 x 49.5 cm (13 9/16 x 19 1/2 in.) Framed: 58.4 x 71.4 x 2.5 cm (23 x 28 1/8 x 1in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.721

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  • Lighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

    1927

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 34.3 x 49.5 cm (13 1/2 x 19 1/2 in.) Framed: 59.1 x 72.4 cm (23 1/4 x 28 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.723

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  • Crotch Island, Maine, The Cove

    1924

    John Marin (American, 1870–1953)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 36.5 x 43.8cm (14 3/8 x 17 1/4 in.) Framed: 57.2 x 69.5 cm (22 1/2 x 27 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor, black crayon, and a pointed tool (brush handle?) on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    61.1140

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Sheep Island, Maine

    1919

    Marguerite Zorach (American, 1887–1968 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 31.8 x 40 cm (12 1/2 x 15 3/4 in.) Framed: 62.2 x 70.5 cm (24 1/2 x 27 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    1980.13

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Deer Isle, Maine

    1927

    John Marin (American, 1870–1953)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 36.8 x 42.9 cm (14 1/2 x 16 7/8 in.) Framed: 63.5 x 67.3 cm (25 x 26 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Transparent watercolor over graphite on paper, with scraping and incising

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    1990.426

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Valley of the Catskills from Jefferson Hill

    1872

    Charles Herbert Moore (American, 1840–1930 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 13.7 x 22.7 cm (5 3/8 x 8 15/16 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    56.373

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  • Mount Chocorua, New Hampshire

    1858

    Benjamin Champney (American, 1817–1907 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    30.48 x 45.4 cm (12 x 17 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    64.423

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    Americas

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  • New Hampshire Lake

    about 1835

    Thomas Doughty (American, 1791–1856 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    66.67 x 92.07 cm (26 1/4 x 36 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    64.425

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    Americas

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  • The Knolls, New Hampshire

    1879–1935

    Childe Hassam (American, 1859–1935)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    25.4 x 35.6cm (10 x 14in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    65.1302

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  • Randolph, New Hampshire

    1915

    William Zorach (American (born in Lithuania), 1889–1966)

    Description

    Marguerite and William Zorach spent the winter seasons in New York City, soaking up the avant-garde ideas in the paintings and sculpture shown at Alfred Stieglitz's 291 gallery and elsewhere while seeking exhibition opportunities for their own art. The warm months were for rejuvenation; between 1915 and 1918, the Zorachs spent several summers in New Hampshire. Although each of them would later specialize in other media (Marguerite became well known as a textile artist and William became one of the leading sculptors of the modernist generation), during this period they were both active as painters. Their styles, based on their experiences as art students in Paris a few years earlier, combined the vivid palette of Fauvism with Cubist compositional structure. Each of them turned to the landscape of the surrounding White Mountains as subject matter. In this case, their responses are found on either side of a single canvas: on the back of Marguerite's 1917 "Whippoorwills" is William's "Randolph, New Hampshire," painted two years before.

    It is not known why the Zorachs chose to paint on both sides of a single piece of canvas. They were extremely poor in those years and may have been driven to work in this unusual manner for reasons of economy. But the double-sided canvas is also an expression of the collaborative spirit that marked their careers, and their marriage. They frequently had joint exhibitions; Marguerite drew embroidery motifs from images in William's paintings, while he based sculptural elements on her needlework designs; and a number of Marguerite's embroidered pictures were worked on (and signed) by both of them.

    Both sides of this painting reflect the Zorachs' pleasure in their summers in New Hampshire, where they lived rent- and relatively care- free in handsomely sited if dilapidated farmhouses that were loaned to them by generous patrons. William presented New Hampshire as Arcadia, with sensuous, Matisse-like nudes lounging in a bucolic landscape. He uses bold, bright colors reminiscent of French Fauvism. Marguerite's response to their surroundings was much more direct (MFA 1993.867b).The rolling hills, leafy woodlands, little waterfalls, and houses nestled in the valleys shown here are an accurate portrayal of the cozy landscape near Plainfield, New Hampshire, where they lived in 1917. The warm earth tones emphasize the organic quality of her picture. She molds the hills and trees into flat, decorative shapes, creating a tapestry-like pattern. Her technique also resonates with her work in textiles, for she paints thinly so that the canvas weave creates a background texture for her design. At the same time, she is a keen observer of nature: she accurately portrays the whippoorwills as having short rounded wings and rounded tails. Nocturnal birds, they soar by on the surface of the picture, beneath a crescent moon.

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

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 x 60.64 cm (20 x 23 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    le Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.867a

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    Americas

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  • Brook in Vermont

    1901–06

    George Hawley Hallowell (American, 1871–1926 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 25.0 x 34.2 cm (9 7/8 x 13 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    06.122

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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

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Ludlow, Vermont

    after 1848

    Unidentified artist, American, mid-19th century (American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    60.96 x 102.55 cm (24 x 40 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1210

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Vermont Landscape

    about 1924

    Charles Sheeler (American, 1883–1965 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 24.7 x 19.2 cm (9 3/4 x 7 9/16 in.) Framed: 51.4 x 43.5 cm (20 1/4 x 17 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Opaque watercolor, (tempera?), wax crayon, pastel, charcoal, graphite, scratching

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    1990.443

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Houses of ‘Squam Light, Gloucester

    1923

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 28.6 x 44.3 cm (11 1/4 x 17 7/16 in.) Framed: 49.5 x 64.8 x 2.5 cm (19 1/2 x 25 1/2 x 1 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.716

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  • Gloucester Mansion

    1924

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 34 x 49.6 cm (13 3/8 x 19 1/2 in.) Framed: 54.6 x 69.9 x 2.5 cm (21 1/2 x 27 1/2 x 1 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.717

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  • House at the Fort, Gloucester

    1924

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 33.9 x 49.6 cm (13 3/8 x 19 1/2 in.) Framed: 54.6 x 69.9 cm (21 1/2 x 27 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.718

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  • House by ‘Squam River, Gloucester (Cape Ann, Massachusetts)

    1926

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 34.3 x 48.4 cm (13 1/2 x 19 1/16 in.) Framed: 54.6 x 69.2 x 2.5 cm (21 1/2 x 27 1/4 x 1in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.719

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  • Anderson's House

    1926

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 35.4 x 50.7 cm (13 15/16 x 19 15/16 in.) Framed: 54.6 x 69.2 x 2.5 cm (21 1/2 x 27 1/4 x 1 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.720

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  • House of the Fog Horn, No. 2

    1927

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 35.2 x 50.6 cm (13 7/8 x 19 15/16 in.) Framed: 59.7 x 73 cm (23 1/2 x 28 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.722

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  • April Showers

    1868

    Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819–1904)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    50.48 x 102.23 cm (19 7/8 x 40 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1173

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    Americas

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  • Schatacook Mountain, Housatonic Valley, Connecticut

    1845

    Jasper Francis Cropsey (American, 1823–1900)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    78.1 x 117.79 cm (30 3/4 x 46 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1208

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    Americas

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  • Salt Marshes, Newburyport, Massachusetts

    about 1866–76

    Artist Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819–1904)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    39.37 x 76.83 cm (15 1/2 x 30 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1152

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  • Cloudy Day, Rhode Island

    1861

    Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819–1904)

    Description

    This early marsh scene already shows Heade's mastery of composition and his sensitivity to the changeability of weather. The primary focus is the dense atmosphere of threatening rain. The two figures, a fisherman and a child, appear to be African American-an interesting detail, as the nation was on the brink of the Civil War.

    Details

    Dimensions

    29.53 x 64.45 cm (11 5/8 x 25 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1158

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  • Cliffs at Newport, Rhode Island

    about 1858

    John Frederick Kensett (American, 1816–1872)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    29.53 x 49.21 cm (11 5/8 x 19 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.440

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  • Rhode Island Landscape

    1859

    Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819–1904)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    30.8 x 50.8 cm (12 1/8 x 20 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    64.432

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    Americas

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  • Sand Dunes of Essex, Massachusetts

    1884

    William Lamb Picknell (American, 1854–1897 American)

    Description

    Cape Ann, Massachusetts, a peninsula that includes the towns of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester, has long been a magnet for artists who are drawn to its intense light and varied scenery. In the 1880s, William Picknell established a summer art colony there in Annisquam, a small village within Gloucester known for its picturesque lighthouse, peaceful village lanes, and giant granite boulders. Between 1883 and 1891, Picknell was joined by as many as thirty artists, including Hugh Bolton Jones [27.1325], whom he had known in Pont Aven, an artists’ colony in Brittany where Picknell had worked from 1874 to 1881. During his summer campaigns on Cape Ann, Picknell was attracted to both the peaceful views of the Annisquam River and to the wilder vistas of the dunes on Coffin’s Beach [53.383], across the river from the village of Annisquam.
    Picknell painted Sand Dunes of Essex, Massachusetts in 1884. Realizing that large canvases attracted attention in crowded exhibitions, Picknell chose one almost seven feet long—just as he had in 1880, when he painted The Road to Concarneau (Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), which had been the first American landscape to win an honorable mention at the prestigious Paris Salon. The Road to Concarneau was especially acclaimed for the intensity of the glaring light that Picknell was able to convey, and Sand Dunes of Essex, Massachusetts can also be admired for its brightly lit surface.

    Picknell’s many years of painting in France are reflected in the presentation of his subject and in his technique. Eschewing strict academic practice, like most of the more progressive French artists, Picknell selected a vista without historical associations, natural drama, or a distinctive motif. Instead, his subject is the effect of sunlight on the unspoiled dunes, with a horse-drawn wagon on the road to provide a sense of the substantial scale of the scrub-covered sandbanks and the granite outcroppings. A variety of intense greens, which contrast with the blue sky and white sand, unify the composition. Like the innovative French Realist painter Gustave Courbet, Picknell applied his pigments vigorously with palette knife and brush. The palette knife enabled him to cover sizeable swaths of canvas quickly and to impart a distinctive texture to his landscape. Both artists also used subtractive methods; Picknell is known to have achieved his mottled blue skies by rubbing the painted surface with a pumice stone to reveal the white priming below.

    Picknell was not the only American artist to paint stark landscapes of dunes in the 1880s. Dunescapes
    [Block quote]
    suddenly appeared around 1881 almost simultaneously on the East and West Coasts among artists seeking not only to commune on a personal level with nature, forsaking the familiar and the grandiose, but also shunning the traditional—whether Hudson River School, Düsseldorf-influenced, or French Barbizon landscape traditions. Almost mysteriously, [William] Keith began painting the dunes of California in 1881, at the same time Picknell and his colleagues were painting them in Annisquam, while that same year John Ferguson Weir painted the dunes at East Hampton and R. Swain Gifford… produced…several other dunescapes near Nonquitt on Buzzard’s Bay, south of Boston.[1]
    [/Block quote]
    The raw, uncultivated dunes appealed to Picknell, and during his nine summers in Annisquam, he revisited the subject several times on a smaller scale. Among his other dune paintings are Annisquam Landscape (date unknown, private collection) and Solitude (1888, private collection). [2]

    Picknell sent Sand Dunes of Essex, Massachusetts, under the title Côtés de Ipswich, to the annual Salon exhibition in Paris in 1884, together with Côtés d’Annisquam (destroyed). [3]A critic for La France commanded his readers to “look at Mr. Picknell’s two pictures: ‘Ipswich’ and ‘Coast of Annisquam.’ Full of life, light and poetry.” And a writer for La Femme et la Famille opined that “Mr. Picknell has made a fine picture at Ipswich, Mass. A road in the middle, with a cart moving along; in the foreground chalky earth, white and yellow flowering shrubs and enormous moss-covered rocks. Above and beyond all a blue sky, flooding everything with a gorgeous light.”[4]

    Picknell next entered Sand Dunes of Essex, Massachusetts, again under the title Coté de Ipswich, in the Fifteenth Exhibition of Boston’s Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association in the fall of 1884. The painting was awarded a gold medal and was one of seven chosen to be acquired by the organization. Boston reviewers appreciated Picknell’s work as fully as their French counterparts. A critic for the Boston Transcript was almost certainly referring to Sand Dunes of Essex, Massachusetts when he wrote, “the power and grasp of the artist in conveying the solidity and expanse of the earth and the richness of its clothing of verdure, recall nothing less than the power and grasp of Courbet in the expression of such aspects.” [5]

    In 1885, Daniel S. Ford, Picknell’s uncle and agent, anonymously gave $1,200 to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to buy the painting from the Charitable Mechanic Association for its own collection. Ford was a successful editor, publisher, and philanthropist, who had purchased Youth’s Companion, a small Sunday-school paper for young children, and gradually developed it into the most popular family journal in the country. Ford wanted the Museum to buy the picture since it “would be an acknowledgement by a recognized official authority of its merit” and also “a great benefit to Mr. Picknell, as a public recognition of his merits as an Artist.” However, Ford wished his part in the purchase to remain confidential, and the painting was thus credited as an “anonymous gift.”[6]

    Notes
    1. William H. Gerdts, “Frank Dudley in a National Context: Dunescapes and Other Landscapes,”in The Indiana Dunes Revealed: The Art of Frank V. Dudley, ed. James R. Dabbert (Valparaiso, Ind.: Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006), 139–40.
    2. Christie’s New York, May 19, 2005, Lot 170.
    3. See Lauren Walden Rabb, “William Lamb Picknell: An American Emersonian Artist” (master’s thesis, George Washington University, 1996), http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/8aa/8aa361.htm [http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/8aa/8aa361.htm], n124.
    4. Both writers quoted in Art Criticisms from the French, English and American Newspapers:Upon Paintings in the Paris Salon, Royal Academy and other Exhibitions by William L. Picknell (New York: S. P. Avery, Jr. Art Galleries, 1890), 11.
    5. Quoted in Art Criticisms, 28–29.
    6. Curatorial files, Department of Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

    Janet L. Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    133.03 x 209.23 cm (52 3/8 x 82 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    85.486

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    Americas

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  • Buckland, Massachusetts

    between 1850 and 1868

    Unidentified artist, American, mid-19th century (American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    61.59 x 78.1 cm (24 1/4 x 30 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1195

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    Americas

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  • Bash-Bish Falls, Massachusetts

    1855

    John Frederick Kensett (American, 1816–1872)

    Description

    Like Thomas Cole, John Frederick Kensett extolled the drama of the rocky rushing waterfalls found in the American landscape. Kensett had trained as an engraver and traveled abroad before settling in New York City in 1847. By 1855 when he painted this version of the southwestern Massachusetts cataract Bash-Bish Falls, the artist had made two trips to Niagara and had depicted other well-known picturesque falls, including Trenton [48.438], Rydal, and Catskill. Commissioned by the important New York collector of American and Dutch painting James Suydam, this scene of Bash-Bish may have had special appeal for Kensett’s patron because of its visual association with waterfalls portrayed by the seventeenth-century Dutch master Jacob Ruysdael, whose works were then greatly admired. Kensett and his patron also shared a deep interest in geology, and rocks feature prominently in Kensett’s depiction of the falls.
    Although Kensett was likely familiar with the Native American myth of a woman named Bash-Bish who had been condemned to death at the site, he chose to focus instead on a realistic view, using carefully blended pigments to capture the appearance of the rough rocks, creating a thickly scumbled surface achieved by applying a glaze, then working over it. Having sketched from nature throughout the Northeastern United States and Europe, Kensett displayed a remarkable facility for rendering textures, ranging from rushing and gently rippling water to moss-covered rocks and lacy foliage. The small scale of the bridge in relation to the height of the gorge, which Kensett enhanced by choosing a low vantage point from the lower pool, is reminiscent of British painter J. M. W. Turner’s far more dramatic views of the St. Gothard pass in the Alps (for example, The Teufelsbrücke, St. Gotthard, about 1803, Kunsthaus Zürich). Kensett probably knew Turner’s scenes: he had traveled both to Switzerland and England, where the Turner Bequest was prominently displayed at the Tate Gallery, and he likely saw the popular engravings made after Turner. The vertical format of Kensett’s scene is also closely related to Cole’s earlier paintings (for example, Falls of the Kaaterskill, 1826, private collection) and is similar to Hudson River School painter Asher Brown Durand’s closely observed oil compositions [63.268] of scenes from nature, which also date from the mid-1850s.

    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

    75.88 x 61.28 cm (29 7/8 x 24 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.437

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  • View of the Iron Works, Canton, Massachusetts

    about 1850

    Unidentified artist, American, mid-19th century (American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    68.9 x 86.68 cm (27 1/8 x 34 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    62.274

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  • Smith's Point, Beverly, Massachusetts

    1867

    John Frederick Kensett (American, 1816–1872)

    Description

    By the late 1860s Kensett tended to simplify the topography of the sites he painted in favor of a distilled atmosphere. Here, the scene is recognizable as Smith's Point, with Baker's Island in the distance, but Kensett shifted his viewpoint to emphasize, in the clarity of crystalline light, distance and the dominant features of the landscape.

    Details

    Dimensions

    56.2 x 91.76 cm (22 1/8 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    62.277

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  • Winter Dory, King's Beach, Swampscott, Massachusetts

    about 1890

    Charles Edwin Lewis Green (American, 1844–1915 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    35.56 x 46.04 cm (14 x 18 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1981.724

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    Americas

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  • Old Fairbanks House, Dedham, Massachusetts

    about 1884

    Childe Hassam (American, 1859–1935)

    Description

    Hassam’s paintings reflect his fascination with French art, his intense nationalistic pride, and his desire to paint characteristically American subjects. Old Fairbanks House provides an early example of these concerns. Hassam’s painting, with its subdued colors and rural subject, reflects the interest of Boston artists and collectors in the Barbizon school. They had first become acquainted with works by French Barbizon artists Jean-François Millet [17.1508] and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot [90.199] in the 1850s, when influential artist, teacher, and collector William Morris Hunt introduced the American public to their works. Beginning in 1882, Hassam applied this aesthetic to his New England landscapes, painting pastoral works with such titles as Shelling Peas and Sheep Pasture and exhibiting them at Boston venues.
    Hassam’s father collected Americana and antique furniture, but the artist’s preoccupation with his Puritan roots and his interest in historic New England structures like the Fairbanks House had probably begun during his early tenure as an illustrator of architectural designs for wood engraver John Lowell. Concurrently, a nationwide preoccupation with the country’s past bloomed at the close of the Civil War and intensified during the centennial celebrations in 1876. These led to the Colonial Revival movement and to an enthusiasm for architectural preservation, particularly of important landmarks in and around Boston.[1] Hassam and many of his fellow artists shared these sentiments and responded to the public’s new-found interest by painting the characteristically American architecture they saw in picturesque towns throughout New England.

    Considered by many to be the oldest timber-frame house in America, the Fairbanks House had long been a symbol of American colonial history. Early Dedham resident Jonathan Fairbanks built the house around 1636 and his descendants continued living there until after 1900. The Fairbanks family made few if any changes to it: one 1897 guidebook author noted that an Indian arrow had projected from its roof for as long as anyone could remember.[2] Hassam most likely was not alone when he sketched and painted the house in 1884; by that time it had appeared in countless guidebooks and, by 1894, would become so overrun with artists that its resident, Miss Fairbanks, could hardly keep “the dooryard clear of these budding Raphaels.” [3]Ever conscious of his reputation as an artist, Hassam would have recognized that a painting of the Fairbanks House—a well-known symbol of America’s colonial past—would have commercial appeal for a discerning audience intent on preserving the country’s architectural history.

    In Hassam’s composition, a young woman dressed in brown carries a bucket up a grassy hill framed by ancient elm trees. For Hassam, she serves as a more gentrified (and apolitical) New England version of Millet’s heroic peasants. She may also be related to female figures in landscapes by Winslow Homer, who made the nineteenth-century American countryside his signature subject during the 1870s and whose rural scenes, like The Dinner Horn [1982.639], appeared frequently in Boston exhibitions during the 1880s. Homer’s A Temperance Meeting (1874, Philadelphia Museum of Art) similarly represents a woman carrying a bucket in a rural setting and also depicts a large structure from a low foreground vantage point, but Hassam omits Homer’s narrative in favor of creating a timeless portrait of a specific historic icon.

    Old Fairbanks House represents a development in Hassam’s career as a colorist and illustrates a transition from the dark palette of the Barbizon artists toward a more Impressionist application of paint. He abandoned the subtle tones of his earlier paintings in favor of sharp greens in the grass, strong browns for the dress, and bright sunlight that silhouettes the woman and the house. When Hassam exhibited the painting prior to his March 1887 auction at Boston’s Noyes, Cobb, & Company, a critic called the work “poetic” and praised the “just relation between the black house and the vivid sky.”[4]

    Hassam’s painting came into the MFA collection as a gift in 1982. The donor’s grandfather acquired it from an elderly Cape Cod resident, who found the painting in an attic. The family had discarded Hassam’s original frame at some point, but MFA curators and conservators have since reframed the painting with a design consistent with Hassam’s work.

    Notes
    1. Erica E. Hirshler, “Hassam and American Architecture,” in Childe Hassam, American Impressionist, by H. Barbara Weinberg et al., exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004), 295–96.
    2. Edwin M. Bacon, Walks and Rides in the Country Round About Boston (Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1897), 395.
    3. Hirshler, “Hassam and American Architecture,” 296.
    4. “Childe Hassam’s Work at Noyes & Cobb’s,” Boston Transcript, [March 1887].

    Victoria Ross

    Details

    Dimensions

    56.2 x 55.88 cm (22 1/8 x 22 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on paper mounted on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1982.386

    Collections

    Americas

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  • May's Pond, Roxbury, Massachusetts

    1858

    Samuel Lancaster Gerry (American, 1813–1891 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    35.88 x 51.12 cm (14 1/8 x 20 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1983.401

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
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  • View of a House by the Sea (said to be Daniel Webster Home in...

    about 1850–55

    Unknown American, 19th century (American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sight: 43.5 x 55.9 cm (17 1/8 x 22 in.) Framed: 58.4 x 71.1 cm (23 x 28 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel on paper in frame ornamented with leather leaves, fruit and flowers

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    1998.578

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • New England Landscape

    about 1887

    John Appleton Brown (American, 1844–1902 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    45.08 x 55.56 cm (17 3/4 x 21 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel and graphite on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    15.880

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
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  • New England Hillside

    1830s

    Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    60.96 x 79.06 cm (24 x 31 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1248

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
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  • New England Early Winter

    1849

    Samuel Lancaster Gerry (American, 1813–1891 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    66.36 x 91.44 cm (26 1/8 x 36 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.409

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
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  • New England Coast

    1873

    William Edward Norton (American, 1843–1916 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40.64 x 69.21 cm (16 x 27 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1985.407

    Collections

    Americas

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  • New England Irrelevancies

    1953

    Charles Sheeler (American, 1883–1965 American)

    Description

    In 1946, Charles Sheeler spent six weeks as artist in residence at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts. Two years later, he visited the Currier Gallery of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, for two weeks, again as artist in residence. Although Sheeler, who was in his sixties, was respected and nationally recognized, he was then garnering less attention from the galleries and art press than the ascendant Abstract Expressionists. These brief sojourns reinvigorated him. During his visits, Sheeler photographed a decrepit woolen mill building in Ballardvale, on the outskirts of Andover, and the abandoned textile mills of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in Manchester. These decayed buildings inspired new ideas, and between 1946 and 1953 Sheeler produced over twenty images in oil, tempera, ink wash, and Conté crayon based upon either Ballardvale or the Amoskeag mills. These culminated in New England Irrelevancies, which combines forms from both sites.
    The title of this painting presumably alludes to the once-impressive buildings and prosperous industries that had dominated Andover and Manchester but were now obsolete. The sense of the buildings’ irrelevance may have struck Sheeler personally, too: by the time he completed this painting, he was seventy years old and remote from the artistic mainstream. However, New England Irrelevancies is far from grim or moribund. Painted in the opalescent hues that give so many of Sheeler’s industrial subjects an astonishing optimism, the picture shows these dilapidated nineteenth-century mill buildings as though they were vibrant contemporary skyscrapers.

    Sheeler worked out the composition of New England Irrelevancies by superimposing, manipulating, and printing several photographic negatives he had taken at Manchester and Ballardvale. He planned the composition in a small study of the same title using tempera on glass (1953, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts). In the left half, Sheeler reintroduced the forms of his painting Ballardvale (1946, Addison Gallery of American Art). The right half reflects in reverse one of his photographs of Manchester, Millyard Passage, Manchester, New Hampshire (possibly 1949, gelatin silver print, The Lane Collection)[JMS1] . That image features fire escapes climbing the facades of buildings; in New England Irrelevancies the fire escapes are absent and the buildings are represented only as wedges of color. The two flat, sliced-off squares in maroon and purple near the center of the painting are in fact two small buildings, one behind the other, dwarfed by the steep walls of the mills on either side. The snaky form emanating from the ladder at center is the outline of a change in the pattern of the cobblestones on the mill yard floor. The composition is highly energized—quite different from the relative placidity of Sheeler’s other mill pictures. The overlapping shapes and shadows, skewed angle of vision, and ruthless cropping create an animated, somewhat disorienting picture.

    Sheeler’s process of arriving at a composition by superimposing photographic images solved an important expressive problem. The artist believed that our understanding of the natural order is based not on immediate observation alone but on observation combined with visual memory. Photography was the ideal medium for linking the memory and the present perception: it preserved details, of course, and in Sheeler’s innovative use of the medium, it could weld together in physical form two experiences linked in the mind, as Manchester and Ballardvale were for him. New England Irrelevancies, with its combination of images that Sheeler had used before and its evocation of the skyscrapers he had recently photographed, not only preserved the memory of the two mill towns but brought them, at least pictorially, into the present.

    This text was adapted and expanded by Janet L. Comey from Carol Troyen and Erica E. Hirshler, Charles Sheeler: Paintings and Drawings, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987).

    [JMS1]L-R 3146.2001. Include as supplemental illustration, if possible. Karen Haas in PDP can advise on rights.

    Details

    Dimensions

    73.66 x 58.42 cm (29 x 23 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1990.382

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Children Playing under a Gloucester Wharf

    1880

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 20.5 x 34.2 cm (8 1/16 x 13 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    21.2554

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Gloucester Harbor

    about 1877

    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description

    Hunt spent the summer of 1877 in Kettle Cove, a fishing village in Gloucester, north of Boston. The surrounding area stimulated him to create a series of landscape paintings, including Gloucester Harbor, which were harbingers of the taste for Impressionism that would soon infect Boston. Inspired by the late landscapes of Corot and Daubigny, which he had seen on his second trip to Europe in 1866-68 and in Boston collections, Hunt worked out-of-doors, painting this view of Gloucester harbor in just one afternoon and writing of his pleasure in capturing the particular opalescent light of the seaside. The spontaneity of his brushwork, luminescent palette, and summary indication of harbor structures make this painting one of Hunt's most modern works.
    Isabella Stewart Gardner, known for the museum she would create for her collection, purchased "Gloucester Harbor" for the handsome price of $3000 from Hunt's estate sale. She kept the painting for thirty-four years before giving it to Hunt's daughter for display in the newly-opened Hunt Memorial Gallery at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

    This text was adapted from an entry by Janet Comey in Erica Hirshler, "Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting," exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, 2005.

    Details

    Dimensions

    53.66 x 79.06 cm (21 1/8 x 31 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    44.47

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Gloucester from Brookbank

    1848

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    Lane painted this view from Brookbank, Samuel E. Sawyer's estate on the western shore of Gloucester's outer harbor. Sawyer, a merchant, was one of Gloucester's greatest benefactors, who funded, among other things, the city's public library. While the painting surveys his property, it also shows Lane's early sensitivity to the depiction of light.

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 x 76.52 cm (20 x 30 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.444

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester

    early 1850s

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description

    Lane's early paintings are filled with anecdotal detail and derive from his successful topographical lithographs. In this work, he carefully described rocks, trees, scrub, and coastline and accurately depicted their placement in the landscape. Many of the sites Lane painted in Gloucester allude to Cape Ann's history: Fresh Water Cove was named for the spring found there by Samuel de Champlain in 1606.

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.28 x 91.76 cm (24 1/8 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.445

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Ships in Ice off Ten Pound Island, Gloucester

    1850s

    Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804–1865)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    30.8 x 50.16 cm (12 1/8 x 19 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.447

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
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  • Long Beach

    1920–23

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American (born in Canada), 1858–1924)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sight: 39.4 x 57 cm (15 1/2 x 22 7/16 in.) Framed: 57.8 x 74.3 cm (22 3/4 x 29 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor, graphite pencil and ink on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    50.652

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
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