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MFA Images: Motherhood

  • MFA Images: Motherhood - Slide

  • Woman Feeding a Child

    1861

    Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 21.1 x 15.8 cm (8 5/16 x 6 1/4 in.) before plate was cut down. Sheet: 32.7 x 25.3 cm (12 7/8 x 9 15/16 in.)

    Medium

    Etching on heavy, pale gray antique laid paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1973.57

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • "Ah! Mon Beau Chateau...!! - Robe de maison par...

    April 1913

    Drésa (French French)

    Description

    Robe de maison de Doucet en mousseline de laine à petites côtes; corsage brodé de petites roses; manches et volants de mousseline galonnés de rubans.

    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

    2004.11.8

    Collections

    Europe

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  • "Portrait de Mme. V. R. et de sa fille - Robes, de Jeanne...

    November 1922

    Charles Martin (French, 1884–1934 French)

    Description

    Deux robes de Jeanne Lanvin: l'une en crèpe brodé chenille et argent; chevrons et cocardes en velours. L'autre, la robe de fillette, en velours noir et crèpe de chine; boutons d'argent en forme de glands.

    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

    2004.54.5

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Man, woman, and child under flowered tree

    1759–70

    Made at Chelsea Manufactory (England, active 1745-1769)

    Description

    Man, woman and child under red flowered tree. Man seated on white gold rimmed barrel, with barrel in front of him, dressed in black hat, red coat, pink breeches. Woman, nursing infant in yellow dress, wears green dress with lavendar bodice. Child in brown

    Details

    Dimensions

    15.88 cm (6 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Soft-paste porcelain

    Classification

    Ceramics, Porcelain

    Accession Number

    30.338

    Collections

    Europe

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  • By the Riverside

    Henry Lerolle (French, 1848–1929 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    470.9 x 300 cm (185 3/8 x 118 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    84.248

    Collections

    Europe

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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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  • Figurine of woman nursing a child (Aphrodite Kourotrophos)

    600–480 B.C.

    Description

    This standing figure is of the type Aphrodite Kourotrophos (Nursing Woman) and depicts a woman nursing her child. Most Aphrodite Kourotrophos figures are seated and standing examples, such as this one, are rare. A similar type with the goddess Isis nursing her son Horus is found in Egypt. A strong Egyptianizing style is seen here in the hair and face. This could be an image of Cypriot Aphrodite as kourotrophos, which adopts the Phoenician-Egyptianizing kourotrophos type.

    The figure is very flat and was probably propped up against a wall or bench in a sanctuary.

    The figure bears no trace of color.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 17.8 x 5.2 x 3 cm (7 x 2 1/16 x 1 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Limestone

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    72.158

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • "Les Premières Roses - Costume Tailleur pour le...

    March 1913

    Francisco Javier Gosé (Spanish, 1876–1915)

    Description

    Ce costume tailleur est composé d'une jaquette en forme de blouse serrée à la taille par une ceinture fermant derrière. La jupe est étroite et garnie dans le haut d'un drapé en forme de pannier.

    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

    2004.10.2

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Figure vase in the form of a woman and child

    1435–1380 B.C.

    Description

    This delightful little bottle takes the form of a kneeling woman, holding a child about to nurse in her lap. A consummate example of the potter's craft, the bottle was made in several parts, probably using molds, with incised details added later. The entire vessel was then covered with a reddish brown slip or wash and was heavily burnished, skillfully concealing the joins. The small size, fanciful shape, and distinctive reddish brown color identify this bottle as one of a select group of pottery containers known as figure vases. The category includes other figural vessels in the shape of a standing woman carrying a basket or playing a lute, or with necks in the form of a woman's head, as well as vessels in the form of wildlife such as fish, grasshoppers, hedgehogs, or reclining ibexes with fawns. Another related group cleverly imitates leather bags or stone vessels. Figure vases are fairly restricted in date to a period of some forty years at most, from the end of the reign of Thutmose III to the beginning of the reign of Amenhotep III.

    Nursing-woman vases form a distinct subgroup of figure vases. Other known examples are so similar to Boston's in size and composition that they all must have been made by the same potters using the same molds. Their small size and narrow mouths suggest that they were meant to contain some precious, perishable substance such as a cosmetic or medicine, perhaps even mother's milk. Mother's milk was used in ancient Egypt as an ingredient in various medical prescriptions, not all of them pediatric. The vessel's capacity is roughly equal to the amount a single breast produces at one feeding.

    The subject of this bottle, so evocative of Isis and Horus, may have held a reassuring message in any of a number of contexts, funerary or otherwise. As the son of Isis and Osiris, Horus was the rightful heir to Egypt's throne. To hide him from his jealous uncle Seth, Isis took the infant Horus to the Delta marshes, shielding him with her magic from snakes and scorpions. Isis therefore became in the Egyptian consciousness the archetypal protective mother.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height x width x depth: 14 x 5.3 x 8 cm (5 1/2 x 2 1/16 x 3 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Pottery, red polished clay

    Classification

    Vessels

    Accession Number

    1985.336

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Amulet of Hathor nursing a queen

    743–712 B.C.

    Description

    This gilded silver amulet shows the Kushite Queen Nefrukakashta being embraced and suckled by a goddess, probably Mut, the patron goddess of the royal women of the 25th Dynasty. Nefrukakashta grasps the wrist of the hand that offers the breast, while the goddess's other arm encircles the queen's shoulder and rests on the queen's breast. The goddess wears the vulture headdress and a crown consisting of a diadem with bovine horns and the solar disc. The claw of the vulture touches the queen's uraeus, and its outstretched wing caresses that of the goddess. The goddess wears a tight sheath that reveals her slenderness, while the queen's body expresses the curvier Kushite feminine ideal.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height x width: 2 1/4 x 3/4 in. (5.7 x 1.9 cm)

    Medium

    Silver

    Classification

    Jewelry / Adornment, Amulets

    Accession Number

    24.928

    Collections

    Jewelry, The Ancient World

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  • Woman holding a child

    323–31 B.C.

    Description

    Fragment of statuette of woman holding a child. Drapery carried over woman's head and around child. Missing below the waist.

    Details

    Dimensions

    8 cm (3 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Terracotta

    Classification

    Sculpture

    Accession Number

    72.170

    Collections

    The Ancient World

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  • Kanamono in the form of a family group with a child, mother and...

    mid to late 19th century (before 1889)

    Unno Moritoshi (Japanese, 1834–1896 Japanese)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 5 x 0.7 cm (1 15/16 x 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Main material: gold; other metals: shakudô, shibuichi and copper; decorative technique: uchidashi, takabori, zôgan

    Classification

    Arms and armor

    Accession Number

    11.5627

    Collections

    Asia

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  • Mother and Child in a Boat

    1892

    Edmund Charles Tarbell (American, 1862–1938 American)

    Description

    Although Edmund Charles Tarbell had been exposed to Impressionism during his student days in Paris from 1884 to 1886, it was not until 1890 that he started painting in this progressive style. His conversion was no doubt influenced by the exhibition in 1890 of Sargent’s A Morning Walk (private collection), the first of his Impressionist works to be shown in Boston. Tarbell painted Mother and Child in a Boat using his wife Emeline and daughter Josephine as models. He rendered the shimmer of light on the water and the dappled sunlight on the rowboat and costumes with strokes of pure color. Reluctant to relinquish his hard-earned drawing skills—his avowed purpose for studying in Paris—Tarbell carefully delineated his wife’s hands and features and deftly foreshortened his daughter’s left leg. The overhanging branches and high viewpoint, aspects borrowed from Japanese prints, provide an intimate view of these figures in a boat, a popular motif for both French and American Impressionists. Sargent had painted a strikingly similar composition, Two Women Asleep in a Punt under the Willows (1887, CalousteGulbenkian Museum, Lisbon), which Tarbell may have known through his friend Dennis Miller Bunker [45.475], who worked with Sargent in 1888 and who had exhibited his own Impressionist landscapes alongside Sargent’s.

    This text was adapted from Janet L. Comey’s entry in Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting, by Erica E. Hirshler et al., exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2005).

    Details

    Dimensions

    76.52 x 88.9 cm (30 1/8 x 35 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.532

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mother and Child

    about 1904

    Gari Melchers (American, 1860–1932 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    54.61 x 40.64 cm (21 1/2 x 16 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel on paper mounted on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    33.10

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Woman with a Parasol and Small Child on a Sunlit Hillside

    about 1874–76

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    47.0 x 56.2 cm (18 1/2 x 22 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.593

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Mother and Child

    undated

    Jacob Brugmann (Netherlandish, 1834–1897 Netherlandish)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 55.7 x 37.9 cm (21 15/16 x 14 15/16 in. )

    Medium

    Watercolor

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    15.879

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Gathering Fruit

    about 1893

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 42.2 x 29.5 cm (16 5/8 x 11 5/8 in.) Sheet: 50 x 38.5 cm (19 11/16 x 16 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, soft ground etching, and aquatint in color

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.813

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Mother and Child

    1777-79

    Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732–1806)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 46.4 x 37.5cm (18 1/4 x 14 3/4in.) Framed: 58.1 x 49.5 x 7 cm (22 7/8 x 19 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    65.2644

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Mother and Child

    about 1865

    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    142.9 x 91.4 cm (56 1/4 x 36 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    2000.1232

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mother and Child Playing with Toys

    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 card stock

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.4487

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

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  • Georgianna Buckham and Her Mother (Anna Traphagen Buckham)

    1839

    Henry Inman (American, 1801–1846 American)

    Description

    Henry Inman was trained by the esteemed New York portraitist John Wesley Jarvis, and he soon rivaled his master in attracting commissions from prominent New York families. Inman worked briefly in Philadelphia, where he founded one of the first lithography firms in the United States. Between the mid-1830s and his death in 1846, he was among New York's most popular painters.
    In this serene and elegant portrait, one of the artist's best known, Inman depicted Anna Traphagen Buckham and her daughter Georgianna. He also painted a companion portrait of her husband, George Buckham, an affluent New York attorney, a friend of the artist, and later a pallbearer at his funeral. Here, mother and daughter are fashionably attired. Mrs. Buckham wears a fancy cap adorned with blue silk flowers and lace; Georgianna, about five years old in this picture, stands in front of her mother in a brightly colored plaid dress. Mrs. Buckham places her arm around her daughter's shoulders in a gesture that is both affectionate and protective. Although Inman painted a number of other portraits of children, it was in "Georgianna Buckham and Her Mother" that he was best able to capture the softness of a little girl's skin and the sweetness of her smile.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, "Children in American Art" (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.1370

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mother Holding Thomas Carew Hunt Martin as Infant

    June 22, 1857

    Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 17.8 x 22.9 cm (7 x 9 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    53.2425

    Collections

    Prints and Drawings

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  • Peasant Mother and Child

    about 1894

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 29.9 x 24.3 cm (11 3/4 x 9 9/16 in.) Sheet: 43.7 x 30.2 cm (17 3/16 x 11 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint and color aquatint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    M19777

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • In the Omnibus

    about 1891

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 36.5 x 26.8 cm (14 3/8 x 10 9/16 in.) Sheet: 43.4 x 29.6 cm (17 1/16 x 11 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Soft ground etching, drypoint and color aquatint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.805

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Maternal Caress

    about 1891

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 37 x 26.8 cm (14 9/16 x 10 9/16 in.) Sheet: 48.4 x 31 cm (19 1/16 x 12 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, soft ground etching and color aquatint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.808

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Bath

    about 1891

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 31.8 x 24.6 cm (12 1/2 x 9 11/16 in.) Sheet: 43.6 x 27.9 cm (17 3/16 x 11 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, soft ground etching and aquatint in color

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    41.806

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Caresse Maternelle

    about 1902

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description

    Though born and trained in the United States, Cassatt lived nearly her whole life in France. She was the only American, and one of only three women, to exhibit with the Impressionist group; by 1894 she had sold enough work to be able to purchase a château in Mesnil-Théribus (about ninety kilometers northwest of Paris), where she lived and worked for much of the year.
    It was at her château that she painted "Caresse Maternelle." Best known for her images of mothers and children, Cassatt was likely inspired to explore this theme by her many nieces and nephews, whom she adored, as well as by images of the Madonna and Child from the Italian Renaissance. Her interest in the subject also reflects the late nineteenth-century fascination with maternity and the new emphasis on child care.
    In "Caresse Maternelle," Cassatt's models are tightly entwined, and their poses seem entirely natural. In what seems to be a spontaneous expression of affection, the little girl kneels in the mother's lap and hugs her around her neck. Their cheek-to-cheek embrace completes the image of tender intimacy. Cassatt used long brushstrokes to render the dresses of mother and daughter, and the softness of the fabric augments the sweet feminine atmosphere. Although Cassatt was never married and had no children of her own, she had a remarkable ability to portray the special love between mother and child.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, "Children in American Art" (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Details

    Dimensions

    92.07 x 73.34 cm (36 1/4 x 28 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1970.252

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Under the Horse-Chestnut Tree

    about 1895

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 40.2 x 28.7 cm (15 13/16 x 11 5/16 in.) Sheet: 48.1 x 38.8 cm (18 15/16 x 15 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint and color aquatint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    63.313

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Camille Monet and a Child in the Artist's Garden in Argenteuil

    1875

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description

    Camille, Monet's first wife, is shown with a child in the garden of their house in Argenteuil, near Paris, where they lived between 1872 and 1877. The shimmering reds, blues, greens, and white that capture the brilliance of a sun-drenched day are applied with many small brushstrokes, whose varied shapes create the different textures of flowers, grass, and clothing.

    Details

    Dimensions

    55.3 x 64.7 cm (21 3/4 x 25 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1976.833

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Sewing Lesson

    1874

    Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    81.6 x 65.4 cm (32 1/8 x 25 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    76.1

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Virgin and Child

    Domenico Corvi (Italian (Roman), 1721–1803 Italian (Roman))

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    60 x 48.5 cm (23 5/8 x 19 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    90.76

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Knitting Lesson

    about 1854

    Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    47 x 38.1 cm (18 1/2 x 15 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    06.2423

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Reading Lesson

    1865

    Auguste Toulmouche (French, 1829–1890 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    36.5 x 27.6 cm (14 3/8 x 10 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    24.1

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Boston Common at Twilight

    1885–86

    Childe Hassam (American, 1859–1935)

    Description

    Childe Hassam, the son of a Dorchester hardware merchant, had made only one trip to Europe before painting Boston Common at Twilight. He studied French art in Boston collections, and he was familiar with the popular work of painters active in Paris, like Jean Béraud and Giuseppe de Nittis, who took modern life as their main subject and frequently depicted fashionable young women in urban settings. Hassam adapted their French aesthetic to his native city and began a series of large canvases representing several of Boston’s developing neighborhoods: Back Bay, the South End, and Park Square.
    Originally an open field for cattle grazing and military parades, the Boston Common had been transformed into an oasis of elm trees and graceful promenades by the time Hassam painted it in the mid-1880s. He chose a view of the Tremont Street Mall, one of five broad tree-lined walkways that provided Boston pedestrians with an elegant alternative to the city’s noisy thoroughfares. The artist doubtless enjoyed it himself, for his studio was just across the street.

    Despite the old-fashioned charm Boston Common at Twilight presents to viewers today, in Hassam’s time this scene was distinctly modern. Once an area of elegant residential row houses, many of the streets around the Boston Common recently had been transformed into a lively business district. The red brick buildings visible at left were mostly new; the traffic of trolley cars and carriages on the road marks the bustling commerce of late afternoon; and artificial light glows from streetlights and storefronts. Hassam enhanced his impression of the fast pace of city life by using a perspective scheme in which the vertical lines of the fence, the lampposts, and the trees recede rapidly into the distance, coming closer and closer together.

    Hassam contrasted the hurried movement at left with the calm quiet of the snowy park. A stylishly dressed young mother and her child pause to feed the birds while other figures stroll through the rosy dusk. Hassam used a variety of reds to unify his composition, bringing the rusty brick buildings, the glow of the lamps, and even the brilliant end of a lit cigarette in the hand of a passerby into harmony with the sunset sky and the pinkish snow. The artist’s interest in contemporary subjects and in different kinds of light allies this painting with Impressionism, but in Hassam’s gentle vision of the city, nature humanizes the modern world.

    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

    106.68 x 152.4 cm (42 x 60 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    31.952

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mrs. Fiske Warren (Gretchen Osgood) and Her Daughter Rachel

    1903

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description

    Gretchen Osgood Warren, member of a prominent Boston family and an accomplished poet, posed with her eldest daughter at Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Fenway Court in Boston (now the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), where Sargent had set up a temporary studio. The works of art around the figures, including the intricately carved chairs and a fifteenth-century Madonna and Child (still visible in the Gardner’s Gothic Room), underscore the sitters’ refinement. Sargent emphasized the beauty and elegance of his sitters, positioning them in emulation of the Madonna and Child behind them, but their aloof expressions somewhat contradict their tender pose. Along with his sitters, Sargent’s free, confident, and expert technique is on display: note the silvery brushstrokes on Mrs. Warren’s dress and the thick slash of white, tinged with green, on the arm of the chair. The portrait’s imposing size, the Renaissance furniture, and Mrs. Warren’s formal pose evoke aristocratic portraits of the past. At the same time, Sargent’s loose painterly style is very modern. The composition would seem to illustrate a description of another Sargent portrait written by American critic Charles Caffin: both pictures feature “a lady [in the] full flavor of the modern spirit . . . never exceed[ing] the limits of good taste.” [1]
    Margaret (Gretchen) Osgood Warren (1871–1961) was the eldest child of Hamilton Osgood and his wife Margaret Cushing Pearmain. She spent much of her childhood abroad while her father studied surgery in Germany and later worked with Pasteur in France (on their return, Dr. Osgood introduced Pasteur’s rabies antibodies to the United States). Gretchen and her sister were educated in languages, science, art, music, and literature, and scholarly pursuits sustained her for the rest of her life. In Paris she studied singing with Gabriel Fauré and drama with Benoît-Constant Coquelin (both friends of Sargent), although she was not permitted to appear on stage or to sing professionally. In 1891 she married Fiske Warren, the youngest son of Samuel D. Warren (founder of a prosperous paper manufacturing firm). Fiske Warren was an idealist, a supporter of dress reform and the single tax, and an anti-imperialist who garnered public attention for his involvement with the political affairs of the Philippines. He went to Manila in 1901–2 and moved the family to Oxford, England, in 1904–7; upon her return Gretchen Warren was offered, and declined, academic positions at both Wellesley and Radcliffe colleges.

    During Sargent’s 1903 visit to the United States, Isabella Stewart Gardner invited him to paint at Fenway Court, the Venetian-style palace she had recently built in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood to house her art collection. Sargent made several portraits in its elaborate Gothic Room, each one reminding the viewers of the friendship between artist and collector, as well as the relationship between the historical masterpieces of the collection and the art of Sargent and his contemporaries. Although Fenway Court had opened to the public in February 1903, the Gothic Room remained off-limits. The room, on the third floor with large windows overlooking the central courtyard, provided an evocative setting for Sargent’s portraits; it was dominated by the artist’s 1888 portrait of Mrs. Gardner and was richly decorated according to her unique sensibilities with paintings, furniture, fabrics, and architectural elements.

    The Warrens’ sittings were recorded in a number of photographs (now in the collection of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum).[2] Sargent arranged Mrs. Warren and her daughter in grand Renaissance armchairs, and used an elaborate gilt candelabra and a fifteenth-century polychrome Madonna and Child as a backdrop. This sculpture inspired the unusual pose of mother and daughter: Rachel rests her head on her mother’s shoulder in imitation of the tender gesture of the Virgin and Child. The pose draws attention both to the influence of art of the past in Sargent’s work and to the intimate and informal familial relationship between the sitters. However, twelve-year-old Rachel seems to strain uncomfortably to fulfill this ideal of maternal affection; she gazes away from her mother with an abstracted expression that seems to exemplify a new stage of childhood that was gaining currency in scientific circles: adolescence.

    Gretchen Warren sits perched and conventionally pretty in a confection of pink and white satin that belonged to her sister-in-law, for Sargent refused to allow her to wear her own choice, green velvet.[3] Sargent does not seem to have known the Warrens well, despite the family’s close association with the arts. The artist was no doubt thinking of picture making and Mrs. Warren’s “great masses of golden hair”; he united his composition with bold, slashing strokes of red, pink and gold. The sophisticated, well-traveled, and educated Mrs. Warren, however—whom the Boston press described as “not only lovely to behold, but . . . clever and interesting” [4]—reportedly found her presentation too superficial. She often lent it, first to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in June 1903, where it was well received; as one critic wrote: “What an heirloom to hand down! There are few portraits of the English school, even by Sir Joshua Reynolds, which can be compared to this group for the note of genuineness and human tenderness which emanate from it.” [5] The painting was later lent to other exhibitions, where it enhanced Sargent’s reputation as a master of psychological portraiture and dashing technique.

    The MFA acquired the painting in 1964, thanks in part to the gift of the then-grown Rachel Warren Barton. The acquisition was hailed by the MFA’s historian, Walter Muir Whitehill, not only for Sargent’s artistry but also because of the Museum’s long-standing relationship with the Warren family: Fiske Warren’s brothers, Samuel D. Warren and Edward Perry Warren, were important collectors and patrons of the MFA.

    Notes
    1. Charles Henry Caffin, American Masters of Painting (New York: Doubleday, Page, 1902), 61–62.
    2. See Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent: The Later Portraits (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 102–4.
    3. Richard Ormond, John Singer Sargent: Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), 63.
    4. “Current of Fiske Warren’s Life Changed by the Filipinos,” Boston Sunday Globe, December 29, 1907.
    5. “The Fine Arts. The Sargent Portraits at the Museum of Fine Arts,” Boston Transcript, June 12, 1903, n.p.

    This text was adapted from Gillian Shallcross, The MFA Handbook: A Guide to the Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston [http://www.mfashop.com/780878467303.html], rev. ed. (Boston: MFA Publications, 2009), and 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

    152.4 x 102.55 cm (60 x 40 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    64.693

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Knitting Lesson

    about 1860

    Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40.4 x 31.5 cm (15 7/8 x 12 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1504

    Collections

    Europe

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  • The Little Convalescent

    about 1873–79

    Eastman Johnson (American, 1824–1906 American)

    Description

    During the 1870s, Johnson frequently visited his sister Harriet May and her family, who spent summers on a farm in Kennebunkport, Maine. He often used Harriet's children as models, capturing their carefree play. "The Little Convalescent" is probably a picture of Harriet reading to one of her children, who is sick in bed-his condition alluded to by the medicine bottles, thermometer, bell, and toothbrush in the background. While Harriet concentrates on the book, caring for her son's mind as well as his body, the little boy turns to look at the artist. Johnson painted a number of pictures of children reading or writing, to suggest they would grow up to be thoughtful, responsible adults. The best known of these depicts the boy Abraham Lincoln-who would serve as United States president during the Civil War-reading by firelight. "The Little Convalescent" is also one of several tender pictures of mothers nurturing their children that Johnson was inspired to paint after the birth of his only child in 1870.
    Johnson's fame as a genre painter rests not only on his quiet domestic scenes but also on his series of canvases depicting maple sugar production, corn husking, and cranberry harvesting. These were all quintessential New England rustic activities, and Johnson included children in most of the compositions.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, "Children in American Art" (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Details

    Dimensions

    32.38 x 27.94 cm (12 3/4 x 11 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    40.90

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Nancy Southworth Hawes and Marion Augusta Hawes

    1855

    Southworth and Hawes (American, 1843–62)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sight: 7.6 x 6.4 cm (3 x 2 1/2 in.) Framed: 29.2 x 26.6 cm (11 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, daguerreotype

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    43.1421

    Collections

    Americas, Photography

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  • The Barefooted Child

    about 1898

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 24.2 x 31.7 cm (9 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.) Sheet: 31.2 x 42.3 cm (12 5/16 x 16 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, soft ground etching and aquatint in color

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    46.74

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Gathering Fruit

    about 1893

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 42.5 x 29.5 cm (16 3/4 x 11 5/8 in.) Sheet: 55.5 x 42.9 cm (21 7/8 x 16 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, soft ground etching, and aquatint in color

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    63.312

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Schiele's Wife with Her Little Nephew

    1915

    Egon Schiele (Austrian, 1890–1918 Austrian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sight: 48.3 x 31.8 cm (19 x 12 1/2 in.) Framed: 70.8 x 53.7 cm (27 7/8 x 21 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Charcoal and opaque and transparent watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    65.1322

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Venus and Cupid

    about 1779

    John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    63.5 x 51.12 cm (25 x 20 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.94

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Emma and Her Children

    1923

    George Wesley Bellows (American, 1882–1925 American)

    Description

    Although he did not exhibit with the Manhattan painters called the Eight, who showed their works together at the Macbeth Gallery, George Bellows shared their realist philosophy, ideals that had earned them the nickname “the Ashcan School.” Like them, Bellows concentrated on urban New York themes, and he painted the excavations for Pennsylvania Station, the underworld of prizefighting contests, and tenement life on the Lower East Side. Closely associated with the many of the group’s leading figures, Bellows began his formal training with Robert Henri [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=Robert%20Earle%20Henri] at the New York School of Art in 1904 and also collaborated with John Sloan [35.52] as an illustrator for the socialist magazine the Masses between 1913 and 1917.
    Emma and Her Children was painted towards the end of Bellows’s career during a productive summer he spent in Woodstock, New York, a favored art community in the Hudson River valley. The composition recalls Auguste Renoir’s large portrait of Madame Charpentier and her children (1878), which had entered the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, to great acclaim in 1907. Bellows posed his wife, Emma, and their two daughters in an elaborately conceived arrangement that evokes bourgeois respectability. In contrast to the seemingly unruffled world of Renoir, the Bellows portrait betrays anxiety. Emma recalled the tension of their portrait sittings in a letter of 1943. Although Bellows’s portrayal of her and their younger daughter Jean went very well “from the start,” she noted that it was more difficult to incorporate their twelve-year-old daughter Anne. [1] With maternal protectiveness, Emma’s arm encircles Jean, who sits unabashedly with legs askew surrounded by billowing crinolines. In contrast, Anne, on the cusp of maturity, exhibits a distinct nervousness in the pose of her hands and a sense of adolescent self-consciousness in her stiffly crossed ankles.

    In a 1923 letter to Robert Henri, Bellows described technical innovations he had developed that afforded him the same freedom while painting that he experienced in drawing. By laying out the composition in two colors at the outset, as seen in the purple and orange that dominate the study [63.261] for this portrait, Bellows achieved “the fresh first excitement” of the composition. [2] Seeking to emulate the spontaneity of Renoir and the French Impressionists and his teacher Henri, Bellows hoped to establish the essential idea of the composition in one day of painting.

    Notes
    1. Emma Bellows to Barbara N. Parker, May 28, 1943, curatorial files, Department of Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
    2. George Bellows to Robert Henri, November 1923, quoted in Michael Quick et al., The Paintings of George Bellows, exh. cat. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1992), 84.

    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

    150.49 x 166.05 cm (59 1/4 x 65 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.105

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Cottage Interior

    Bernardus Johannes Blommers (Dutch, 1845–1914 Dutch)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    25.4 x 31.1 cm (10 x 12 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    15.878

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
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  • Woman Sewing beside her Sleeping Child

    about 1858–62

    Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    34 x 27.3 cm (13 3/8 x 10 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1493

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Children Feeding Geese

    1881

    Julien Dupré (French, 1851–1910 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    81.6 x 65.1 cm (32 1/8 x 25 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    20.1865

    Collections

    Europe

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  • The Good Mother

    ca. 1777-1779

    Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732–1806)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    65.1 x 54.0 cm (25 5/8 x 21 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    44.777

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Catharine Wheeler Hardy and Her Daughter

    about 1845

    Description

    Trained in Boston and New York, Jeremiah Hardy opened a studio in Bangor, Maine, in 1826. Bangor was the lumber capital of the United States in the 1830s and had many prosperous citizens who bought Hardy's paintings. He soon became wealthy enough to purchase land on the Penobscot River, which flowed through the town, and he built a comfortable home and planted an elaborate garden there.
    In a composition adapted from the British Romantic tradition, Hardy included a luminous view of the river behind his wife and daughter in this portrait, creating a poetic atmosphere that transcends the middle-class setting. Mrs. Hardy is dressed soberly in black with a kerchief held in place by a cameo pin, while Anna Eliza wears soft white muslin. Mrs. Hardy holds pencil and paper and appears to be giving her daughter a drawing lesson. Anna Eliza also studied with her father and became an accomplished artist, painting portraits and still lifes as well as teaching many women students.
    Soft light from the window suffuses the room and creates a glow around the heads of the two figures. Anna Eliza gazes affectionately at her mother and puts her hand on her knee. Hardy's skillful handling of light compensates for his somewhat provincial style, just as it transforms the rather plain features of his wife and daughter.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, "Children in American Art" (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Details

    Dimensions

    74.29 x 91.76 cm (29 1/4 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1146

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Deliverance Mapes Waldo and Her Son

    about 1830

    Samuel Lovett Waldo (American, 1783–1861 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    77.15 x 64.45 cm (30 3/8 x 25 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    45.891

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
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  • Rest on the Flight into Egypt

    about 1690

    Aert de Gelder (Dutch, 1645–1727)

    Description

    One of Rembrandt's most gifted pupils, Aert de Gelder continued to work in a broad, painterly style derived from his teacher's manner well into the eighteenth century. In this tender scene, the Holy Family is shown resting in their flight to escape Herod, the ruler of Galilee. Joseph had been warned in a dream that Herod was searching for the Christ child to kill him.

    Details

    Dimensions

    109.9 x 118.8 cm (43 1/4 x 46 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    57.182

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Mrs. Cephas Smith, Jr. (Mary Gove) and Child

    about 1803

    William Jennys (American, 1774–1858 American)

    Description

    An itinerant portrait painter, William Jennys traveled throughout New England seeking commissions. In 1803, he was in Rutland, Vermont, where the prosperous attorney Cephas Smith, Jr., hired him to paint portraits of himself [1974.135] and his young wife and child. The portraits were among Jennys’s most ambitious works. Although he was known for small half-length likenesses, here he returned to a larger three-quarter-length format. These had been popular in the materialistic 1760s and 1770s because the bigger canvases allowed for the inclusion of furnishings, draperies, and other indications of wealth.

    In the related portrait of Mr. Smith, the sitter poses at his writing desk, pen in hand, demonstrating that he is a successful man of affairs. Here, his wife is shown seated in a matching chair, holding an infant in her lap—either Egbert, the Smiths’ second child, or Mary, their third. The infant holds a coral and bells, an expensive yet essential item of child-rearing equipment. The sparkling silver bells amused the baby, while the coral, parents believed, guarded against disease. In the eighteenth century, teething was considered as dangerous as diphtheria. Biting on coral would ease the discomfort of teething. Coral was also believed to have talismanic powers, warding off ailments and dangers. The rattle was thus not just a toy but a device to protect children and promote their development.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Details

    Dimensions

    106.04 x 80.33 cm (41 3/4 x 31 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1974.136

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Mother and Child

    1848

    Sturtevant J. Hamblin (American, 1817–1884 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    68.9 x 56.2 cm (27 1/8 x 22 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1981.113

    Collections

    Americas

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  • A Street in Winter: Evening

    about 1855

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    38.1 x 46.04 cm (15 x 18 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1216

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Virgin and Child

    Sassoferrato (Giovanni Battista Salvi) (Italian (Roman), active...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    48.3 x 38.7 cm (19 x 15 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas mounted on Masonite

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1991.693

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Study for Woman Feeding a Child

    1861

    Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    15.4 x 12.8 cm (6 1/16 x 5 1/16 in.)

    Medium

    Black conté crayon and graphite pencil on light brown laid paper

    Classification

    Drawings

    Accession Number

    76.434

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Woman with Two Infants

    Late 19th to early 20th century

    Paul César F. Helleu (French, 1859–1927 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 34.8 x 17.2 cm (13 11/16 x 6 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Red, black and white chalk on paper

    Classification

    Drawings

    Accession Number

    27.503

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Bridlington Quay

    1883

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 33.9 x 45.3 cm (13 3/8 x 17 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    44.681

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Charlotte Nichols Greene and her Son Stephen, 1924

    1924

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 44.5 x 60.4 cm (17 1/2 x 23 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Charcoal on paper

    Classification

    Drawings

    Accession Number

    1986.970

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Father's Leave-Taking

    1879

    William Holman Hunt (English, 1827–1910)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 18.7 x 25.1 cm (7 3/8 x 9 7/8 in.); Sheet: 33 x 46.2 cm (13 x 18 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Etching on cream, smooth, laid paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1993.878

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Bath

    about 1891

    Artist Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 32 x 24.8 cm (12 5/8 x 9 3/4 in.) Sheet: 43.5 x 29.5 cm (17 1/8 x 11 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, soft ground etching and aquatint in color

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    2001.698

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Bath

    about 1891

    Artist Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 31.8 x 24.8 cm (12 1/2 x 9 3/4 in.) Sheet: 36.8 x 27.5 cm (14 1/2 x 10 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, soft ground etching, and aquatint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    2001.699

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Gathering Fruit

    about 1893

    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 42.2 x 29.8 cm (16 5/8 x 11 3/4 in.) Sheet: 50.6 x 39.6 cm (19 15/16 x 15 9/16 in.) Mount: 54.3 x 42.8 cm (21 3/8 x 16 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Drypoint, soft ground etching, and aquatint in color

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    2005.240

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Woman Bathing a Small Boy

    about 1801 (Kansei 13/Kyôwa 1)

    Artist Kitagawa Utamaro I (Japanese, (?)–1806)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Vertical ôban; 36.7 x 26 cm (14 7/16 x 10 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    21.6439

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
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