Search

Collection Tour

MFA Images: Towns & Cities

  • MFA Images: Towns & Cities - Slide

  • Urban Landscapes: Oriental Cuisine

    1972

    Richard Estes, American, born in 1932

    Description
    Details

    Medium

    Screenprint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1975.722.5

    Collections

    Americas , Contemporary Art , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Urban Landscapes: Seagram Building

    1972

    Richard Estes, American, born in 1932

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 35.2 x 54 cm (13 7/8 x 21 1/4 in.) Sheet: 50.2 x 69.9 cm (19 3/4 x 27 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Color screenprint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1975.722.6

    Collections

    Americas , Contemporary Art , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Urban Landscapes: Danbury Tile

    1972

    Richard Estes, American, born in 1932

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    52.07 x 71.12 cm (20 1/2 x 28 in.)

    Medium

    Screenprint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1975.722.7

    Collections

    Americas , Contemporary Art , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Urban Landscapes: 560

    1972

    Richard Estes, American, born in 1932

    Description
    Details

    Medium

    Screenprint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1975.722.4

    Collections

    Americas , Contemporary Art , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • View of Beacon Street from Boston Common

    about 1923

    George Benjamin Luks, American, 1866–1933

    Description

    By the late nineteenth century, concern arose that city children had insufficient access to the outdoors. The Playground Association of America, founded in 1906, was dedicated to promoting parks and recreation for urban children. George Luks's "View of Beacon Street from Boston Common" illustrates this goal: two beautifully dressed young girls, accompanied by their governess, walk their dog in Boston Common, a large park in the center of the city. Although the common had been established in the seventeenth century for the communal pasturing of cows, by the nineteenth century it was an oasis of nature in the midst of the city.
    Best known for his gritty images of street life in New York's poorer districts, Luks painted more prosperous people and neighborhoods when he visited Boston from 1922 to 1923. He was a guest of Margarett Sargent, a cousin of the artist John Singer Sargent. Wealthy and socially prominent, Margarett Sargent had studied drawing and painting with Luks in New York. Because she was his guide to Boston, Luks became familiar with the more affluent areas of the city, such as Beacon Street and the adjacent Boston Common. Behind the girls who are enjoying fresh air and exercise in the park, Luks painted the graceful bow fronts of the early nineteenth-century townhouses on Beacon Street, architectural features popular in Boston and almost unknown in New York.

    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 77.15 cm (36 1/4 x 30 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Object accessories , Pedestals

    Accession Number

    60.538

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Suburban Street Scene

    Maurice Utrillo, French, 1883–1955 French

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    50.5 x 65.1 cm (19 7/8 x 25 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1980.404

    Collections

    Contemporary Art , Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Old Brooklyn Bridge

    about 1941

    Joseph Stella, American, 1877–1946 American

    Description

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

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

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

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

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1980.197

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • New York (The Liberty Tower from the Singer Building)

    1912

    Max Weber, American (born in Russia), 1881–1961

    Description

    In the early twentieth century, New York's dynamic skyline represented the essence of the new, modern world. Buildings rose to unprecedented heights made possible by new technologies. An economic boom spurred rapid growth and constant construction, which transformed old neighborhoods. Max Weber portrayed this rapidly changing city in this view looking down at the Liberty Tower, a slender thirty-three-story skyscraper, from the even taller Singer Building, one block away.

    Construction began on Liberty Tower in 1909, the year Weber returned to the United States after study in Europe. Architect Henry Ives Cobb disguised its steel structure with white terra-cotta neo-gothic ornamentation. Weber, however, emphasized the skyscraper's slender shape rather than its decorative surface, simplifying it by eliminating both the decoration and the peaked copper roofs that lend the building its distinct appearance. What remains in Weber's image is an attenuated tower with an irregular, broken façade--not gothic or geometric, but uneven, like a hand carved post. Using a small canvas--jjust over eighteen inches in height--Weber conveyed the powerful totemic presence of Liberty Tower set against the confusion of the city. Weber's heavy, jagged outlining of the jumbled urban architecture suggests both the physical anatomy of the city and the frenetic activity of its people.

    Innovative in both subject and style, New York confirms Weber's status as an original American painter and a conduit for avant-garde European art practices. The fractured forms of the city and the dramatically distorted perspective demonstrate Weber's familiarity with the adventurous experiments of the Cubists. While vertigo-inducing views became a staple of Modernist photography (and popular films) in succeeding decades, such extreme perspectives were nearly unheard of in any medium in 1912. It was far more common for artists to portray skyscrapers from the ground towering above the viewer. Weber, with his friend photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, was at the forefront of American modernists searching for novel representations of the urban landscape. Coburn's photograph of Liberty Tower from the Singer Building [http://www.geh.org/fm/coburn/alcoburn/m196701440293_ful.html], made the same year as Weber's painting, retained the Gothic detail of Cobb's design and was cropped so the Tower fills the frame from top to bottom. Weber, instead, exaggerated the perspective to include more of the city. Manhattan becomes an energized space surrounding Liberty Tower, as if to illustrate Weber's concept of a "fourth dimension." In a 1910 Camera Work article Weber defined the fourth dimension as "the consciousness of a great and overwhelming sense of space-magnitude in all directions at one time." "It is," he wrote, "the space that envelopes a tree, a tower... It arouses imagination and stirs emotion. It is the immensity of all things."

    Liberty Tower still stands at the intersection of Liberty and Nassau Streets; the Singer Building was demolished in 1968, to be replaced by One Liberty Plaza.

    Cody Hartley

    Details

    Dimensions

    46.35 x 33.34 cm (18 1/4 x 13 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1971.705

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Chock Full O' Nuts, from the portfolio Urban Landscapes No. 2

    1979

    Richard Estes, American, born in 1932

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 50.6 x 35.4 cm (19 15/16 x 13 15/16 in.) Sheet: 69.9 x 49.8 cm (271/2 x 19 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Screenprint in color on white wove (Fabriano Cottone) paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1986.968

    Collections

    Americas , Contemporary Art , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Hôtel de Cluny

    1839

    Thomas Shotter Boys, English, 1803–1874

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    27.3 x 22.86 cm (10 3/4 x 9 in.)

    Medium

    Crayon lithograph printed in color

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    M25042

    Collections

    Europe , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Urban Landscapes: Nass Linoleum

    1972

    Richard Estes, American, born in 1932

    Description
    Details

    Medium

    Screenprint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1975.722.3

    Collections

    Americas , Contemporary Art , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Nocturne, Railway Crossing, Chicago

    1893

    Childe Hassam, American, 1859–1935

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 40.6 x 29.8cm (16 x 11 3/4 in.) Framed: 56.8 x 46.7 cm (22 3/8 x 18 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Opaque watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    62.986

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • In The Province (Roofs)

    1920

    Charles Demuth, American, 1883–1935

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet (board): 60.3 x 50.5cm (23 3/4 x 19 7/8in.) Framed: 77.8 x 66.7 cm (30 5/8 x 26 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Opaque watercolor over graphite pencil on very thick cardboard

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    68.790

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Urban Landscapes: Ten Doors

    1972

    Richard Estes, American, born in 1932

    Description
    Details

    Medium

    Screenprint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1975.722.2

    Collections

    Americas , Contemporary Art , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Urban Landscapes: Grant's

    1972

    Richard Estes, American, born in 1932

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 52.1 x 71.1cm (20 1/2 x 28in.)

    Medium

    Screenprint

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1975.722.1

    Collections

    Americas , Contemporary Art , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • New York Street Scene

    before 1910

    Ernest Lawson, American, 1873–1939

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    81.6 x 60.96 cm (32 1/8 x 24 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1972.919

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Street in Old Town

    19th century

    Achille Joyau, French, 1831–1873 French

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 27.8 x 18.3 cm (10 15/16 x 7 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    1973.578

    Collections

    Europe , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • The Gasoline Station

    1937

    Joseph Solman, American (born in Russia), 1909–2008 American...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    63.18 x 86.36 cm (24 7/8 x 34 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1985.675

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Carp Banners in Kyoto

    1888

    Louis Dumoulin, French, 1860–1924 French

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    46 x 54.3 cm (18 1/8 x 21 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1986.582

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Venice: I Gesuati

    about 1911

    John Singer Sargent, American, 1856–1925

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    35.4 x 49.3 cm (13 15/16 x 19 7/16 in.)

    Medium

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

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.202

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Venice: La Dogana

    about 1909

    John Singer Sargent, American, 1856–1925

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 50.9 x 35.6 cm (20 1/16 x 14 in.)

    Medium

    Translucent and opaque watercolor over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.201

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Venice: La Salute

    1909

    John Singer Sargent, American, 1856–1925

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 40.5 x 53.3 cm (15 15/16 x 21 in.)

    Medium

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

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.200

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Houses near the Bay

    1915

    Edna Boies Hopkins, American, 1872–1937 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 37.8 x 33.5 cm (14 7/8 x 13 3/16 in.) Block: 22.5 x 20 cm (8 7/8 x 7 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Color woodcut

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    48.914

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Winter, Richmond, Indiana

    1859–60

    Lefevre James Cranstone, British, active in 1845–1867 British

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 15 x 34.3 cm (5 7/8 x 13 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    51.2517

    Collections

    Europe , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Santa Maria Formosa, Venice

    1912

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast, American (born in Canada),...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 55.9 x 38.7 cm (22 x 15 1/4 in.) Framed: 78.1 x 61.9 cm (30 3/4 x 24 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor and graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    59.58

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Panorama

    Artist Unknown American, 19th century, American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 25.4 x 1280.2 cm (10 x 504 in.)

    Medium

    Graphite pencil, pen and watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    55.698

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Morning at Gargagno, Lake of Garda

    1911

    Edward Darley Boit, American, 1840–1915 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    35.5 x 48 cm (14 x 18 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.153

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Poppi in the Casentino, Tuscany

    1910

    Edward Darley Boit, American, 1840–1915 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    41.3 x 62 cm (16 1/4 x 24 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.152

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • East River, New York

    1911

    Edward Darley Boit, American, 1840–1915 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 56 x 68.6cm (22 1/16 x 27in.) Framed: 88.9 x 100.6 cm (35 x 39 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.132

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Park Avenue, New York

    1911

    Edward Darley Boit, American, 1840–1915 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    55 x 67 cm (21 5/8 x 26 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.131

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • San Giorgio Maggiore: from the Bacino di S. Marco

    about 1726–30

    Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), Italian (Venetian),...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    46.3 x 63.2cm (18 1/4 x 24 7/8in.) Framed: 60.3 x 76.8 x 6.4 cm (23 3/4 x 30 1/4 x 2 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.34

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Piccadilly, London

    1911

    Edward Darley Boit, American, 1840–1915 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    38 x 28 cm (14 15/16 x 11 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.134

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Venice: Afternoon on the Grand Canal

    1911

    Edward Darley Boit, American, 1840–1915 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    37 x 48.5 cm (14 9/16 x 19 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.146

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • A Street in Arezzo

    1911

    Edward Darley Boit, American, 1840–1915 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 38 x 28cm (14 15/16 x 11in.) Framed: 58.7 x 48.3 cm (23 1/8 x 19 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.150

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Rio di San Barnaba, Venice

    1911

    Edward Darley Boit, American, 1840–1915 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    48 x 35.5 cm (18 7/8 x 14 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.147

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • West Church, Boston

    1900–01

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast, American (born in Canada),...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 27.8 x 39.1cm (10 15/16 x 15 3/8in.) Framed: 39.4 x 51.8 cm (15 1/2 x 20 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    58.1199

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Delaware River Front, Philadelphia

    1794–1851

    Artist Thomas Birch, American (born in England), 1779–1851...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 25.7 x 35.2 cm (10 1/8 x 13 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper (paper squared in graphite)

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    61.260

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Street in Old Chelsea

    about 1880–85

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

    Description

    In 1901, Charles Lang Freer, Whistler’s most important patron, wrote that the artist’s little street scenes were “superficially, the size of your hand, but, artistically, as large as a continent.” [1] Whistler was fascinated by the geometry of shopfronts and streetscapes, recording these architectural subjects in oil on small panels and also in watercolors and prints. Many of these scenes were painted in Chelsea, an artistic section of London with prosperous areas as well as working class neighborhoods, where Whistler lived for nearly forty years at various addresses. He often set up his easel on the Chelsea Embankment of the River Thames and rendered the industrial views on the opposite shore, or he turned around to record the row of shops on the western end of Cheyne Walk, opposite the Embankment.
    Whistler may have painted Street in Old Chelsea during the spring of 1884 when he was preparing for his exhibition “Arrangement in Flesh Colour and Grey” at Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell’s Gallery in London. In early May Whistler wrote to Charles William Dowdeswell that he should not look for him in the studio for “I shall be on the Embankment painting away for dear life.” [2] In Street in Old Chelsea, Whistler depicted Edward Knight’s Marine stores; Mrs. Maunder’s fish shop at 72 Cheyne Walk (the light-colored building with the peaked roof); and the shops of a tailor, a boot-maker, a chimney sweep, and a plumber. [3]Mrs. Maunder’s fish shop was a favorite motif of Whistler’s; he included it in two etchings—The Fish-Shop, Busy Chelsea [50.238] (about 1886) and Little Maunders (1887)—and a lithograph—Maunder’s Fish Shop, Chelsea [59.820] (1890). The shop, long run by Mrs. Elizabeth Maunder, was razed in 1892; it was in the house built on that very site that Whistler died in 1903.

    Whistler used many shades of gray and brown, punctuated by reds, to render this London street scene, making Maunder’s fish market, with its facing gable and light color, a focal point. As in most of his images of building facades, he placed the shops fronts parallel to the picture plane. He painted the foreground thinly with smooth strokes, and he used tiny brushes to render an incredible amount of architectural detail in the upper half of the panel and to depict the figures in the foreground and on the sidewalk in front of the stores.

    Whistler scholars have suggested that Street in Old Chelsea may have been exhibited under the title Chelsea: Yellow and Grey in Whistler’s 1884 exhibition, itself entitled “Arrangement in Flesh Colour and Grey”. [4]One reviewer of that show, apparently referring to the foreground figures of Street in Old Chelsea who seem to lack legs and feet, wrote: “I should think the marionettes are rather often in the streets of Chelsea from the figures that appear in (11) ‘Chelsea: yellow and grey.’” [5] The small size of this panel also connects it to this innovative exhibition, which challenged the contemporary idea that an important work of art had to be large. Almost all of the works in Whistler’s show were small, some measuring little more than three by five inches. By using wide frames, usually reserved for sizeable oil paintings, Whistler implied that his small works were as important as large ones, while his use of the same wide frames for watercolors and pastels suggested that works in those media were as significant as oil paintings. Whistler’s aim was to show that the value of a work of art should not be dependent on size or medium but on the harmony of the line and color and overall beauty.

    Whistler found aesthetic inspiration not only in well-to-do settings, but in the ordinary store fronts of Chelsea, especially those in the lower-class sections. While he believed that form and color took precedence over subject matter, Whistler nevertheless left a compelling record of London from the 1870s to the 1890s. As one of his followers, Walter Sickert, wrote in 1890, “Suppose a thousand years hence the pictures painted to-day are discovered hidden away . . . Whistler’s Chelsea shops will tell the discoverers exactly what London was like at the end of the nineteenth century.”[6]

    Although the early history of Street in Old Chelsea is unknown, by 1902 it had been acquired by Denman Waldo Ross, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, artist, teacher, and collector with wide-ranging tastes. He entered the painting in the one hundredth annual exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1905, where a critic called it and Whistler’s eight other landscapes “the real gems of the centenary exhibition.” [7] Ross gave Street in Old Chelsea to the MFA in 1909, one of over 11,000 objects he would donate to the Museum.

    Notes
    1. Linda Merrill et al., After Whistler: The Artist and His Influence on American Painting (New Haven: High Museum of Art and Yale University Press, 2003), 128.
    2. Kenneth John Myers, Mr. Whistler’s Gallery: Pictures at an 1884 Exhibition (London: Freer Gallery of Art and Scala Publishers, 2003), 19.
    3. Anna Gruetzner Robins, A Fragile Modernism: Whistler and his Impressionist Followers (New Haven and London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Yale University Press, 2007), 124–26. See also Fish-Shop, Chelsea, in James McNeill Whistler: The Etchings, a Catalogue Raisonné, by Margaret F. MacDonald, Grischka Petri, Meg Hausberg, and Joanna Meacock (Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2011), no. 267, accessed January 6, 2012, http://etchings.arts.gla.ac.uk.
    4. See Myers, Mr. Whistler’s Gallery, 86, and Andrew McLaren Young et al., The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler (New Haven and London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Yale University Press, 1980), 137.
    5. Myers, Mr. Whistler’s Gallery, 86.
    6. Sickert quoted in Robins, A Fragile Modernism, 123.
    7. M. B., “Pennsylvania Academy Exhibition,” The Collector and Art Critic 3, no. 1 (February 15, 1905): 8.

    Janet L. Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    13.33 x 22.86 cm (5 1/4 x 9 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    09.297

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Entrance to the Village of Vétheuil in Winter

    1879

    Claude Monet, French, 1840–1926

    Description

    In Vétheuil, a town farther down the Seine than Argenteuil and hence still untouched by signs of modernity, Monet painted no suburban gardens or sailboat regattas. A sweep of country road leading into the village, bordered by messy stretches of grasses and weeds sodden with melting snow, takes up the bottom half of the picture. The eye is not held by the colors and texture present in the foreground but rushes past, only to be stopped by the phalanx of houses constituting the village, their rectilinear forms hastily sketched in blue. Perspective here is exaggerated, with the point of view chosen so that the roadway covers what seems a disproportionate area of the canvas. Monet could have seen such a composition in nineteenth-century Japanese woodblock prints that were being imported in France in large numbers.

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.6 x 81 cm (23 7/8 x 31 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    21.7

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Riverbank with Bathers

    about 1882

    Jean Charles Cazin, French, 1841–1901

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    131.2 x 147 cm (51 5/8 x 57 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    20.593

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Snow at Argenteuil

    about 1874

    Claude Monet, French, 1840–1926

    Description

    Painted not far from his house in Argenteuil, and likely begun outdoors, this work demonstrates Monet's interest in the changing effects of light and weather. Primed with a light-gray ground, the canvas can be seen through some of the thinly applied brushstrokes, while quick dabs of pigment and larger sweeps of color define the objects and the people. The path situates the viewer in the scene. The fence and meadow act as a framing device, so that like the pedestrians (and like the artist himself, as he painted) we can feel the cold, damp air and falling snow. Monet's decision to depict a snowfall in progress, and not simply a winter scene of fallen snow, reflects the influence of Japanese Ukiyo-e prints.

    Details

    Dimensions

    54.6 x 73.7 cm (21 1/2 x 29 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    21.1329

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Sunlight on the Road, Pontoise

    1874

    Camille Pissarro, French (born in the Danish West Indies),...

    Description

    During the 1870s, many of the Impressionist landscape painters went to live in the small towns surrounding Paris. They painted the ordinary scenes of the nearby countryside with a fresh, direct approach, often working outdoors. The balanced composition and cool harmony of blues, greens, and creamy yellow give this river view a serene stability typical of the work of Pissarro, a leader in the group and an important mentor to Cézanne and Gauguin.

    Details

    Dimensions

    52.4 x 81.6 cm (20 5/8 x 32 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.114

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • 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

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Canterbury

    1889

    Childe Hassam, American, 1859–1935

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    34.3 x 24.2 cm (13 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    33.526

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Carnival, Franklin Park, Boston

    1897

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast, American (born in Canada),...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 34 x 37.5 cm (13 3/8 x 14 3/4 in.) Framed: 54 x 59.7 cm (21 1/4 x 23 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    35.1689

    Collections

    Americas , Prints and Drawings

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Italian Hill Town

    about 1845

    Jean Achille Benouville, French (Paris), 1815–1891 French (Paris)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    14.6 x 28 cm (5 3/4 x 11 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on paper mounted on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    41.120

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Turn in the Road

    about 1881

    Paul Cézanne, French, 1839–1906

    Description

    During the 1870s, Cézanne admired and worked closely with Camille Pissarro, one of the most innovative Impressionist landscape painters. In comparison to Pissarro's more straightforward views of the countryside, this bold landscape shows Cézanne's interest in complex arrangements of shapes and spaces that challenge the viewer's perceptions. In this painting, for example, the curving roadway draws us into deep space and at the same time forms a flattened shape on the surface of the painting. The first owner of this landscape was Cézanne's contemporary Claude Monet.

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.6 x 73.3 cm (23 7/8 x 28 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.525

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Entrance to the Village of Osny

    1882–83

    Paul Gauguin, French, 1848–1903

    Description

    Beginning in the mid-1870s, when he was still a "Sunday painter," Gauguin spent much time with the Impressionists, exhibited with them, and collected their pictures. The lively color, small brushstrokes, and unassuming subject of this village view reflect Impressionist influence, particularly that of Camille Pissarro.

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.0 x 72.7 cm (23 5/8 x 28 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.545

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Copley Square, Boston

    about 1908

    Arthur Clifton Goodwin, American, 1864–1929

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    76.83 x 91.76 cm (30 1/4 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.550

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Park Street, Boston

    about 1908

    Arthur Clifton Goodwin, American, 1864–1929

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    48.58 x 66.04 cm (19 1/8 x 26 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.551

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Rue de la Bavole, Honfleur

    about 1864

    Claude Monet, French, 1840–1926

    Description

    Dating from the beginning of Monet's career, this view of a street in the old port of Honfleur is a relatively traditional subject painted with great simplicity and directness. Monet's palette of pure, contrasting colors is a radical departure from the traditional practice of building up an overall tonality through delicate gradations of color.

    Details

    Dimensions

    55.9 x 61.0 cm (22 x 24 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.580

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Pontoise, the Road to Gisors in Winter

    1873

    Camille Pissarro, French (born in the Danish West Indies),...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    59.7 x 73.7 cm (23 1/2 x 29 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.587

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Early Snow at Louveciennes

    about 1870–71

    Alfred Sisley, British (active in France), 1839–1899 British

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    54.9 x 73.7 cm (21 5/8 x 29 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.600

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Grand Prix Day

    1887

    Childe Hassam, American, 1859–1935

    Description

    Hassam altered his style in 1887 when he painted Grand Prix Day in light colors that captured the effect of a bright sunny day, rather than using the darker, more tonal palette [31.952] he had previously preferred. He depicted the parade of fashionably dressed Parisians on their way to Longchamp in the Bois de Boulogne for the Grand Prix, an important horse race held annually in June. Hassam exhibited a second, larger version, entitled Le Jour du Grand Prix (New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut), at the Salon of 1888. He described the picture to fellow artist Rose Lamb: “I am painting sunlight. . . a ‘four in hand’ and the crowds of fiacres filled with the well dressed women who go to the ‘Grand Prix.’” [1]
    Grand Prix Day probably portrays the chestnut-tree-lined avenue Bois de Boulogne (now avenue Foch), with the Arc de Triomphe partially visible to the left. The painting demonstrates Hassam’s adaptation of Claude Monet’s [21.1331] color and brush strokes and the compositional devices of cropping and an empty foreground often utilized by Edgar Degas [39.669] and GustaveCaillebotte [2011.231] to provide a glimpse of modern Parisian life (Degas had painted the racehorses at Longchamp [03.1034] himself some sixteen years earlier). However, Hassam’s more restrained form of Impressionism, influenced by the work of an international group of artists who recorded Paris—including Giuseppe de Nittis, Jean Béraud, and Félix Buhot [M15710]—is evident in the solidity and detail of the horses, carriages, and figures.

    Notes
    1. Childe Hassam to Rose Lamb, November 29, 1887, curatorial files, Department of Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

    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

    61.28 x 78.74 cm (24 1/8 x 31 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    64.983

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • 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

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Boulevard Saint-Denis, Argenteuil, in Winter

    1875

    Claude Monet, French, 1840–1926

    Description

    The Impressionist interest in specific effects of light and weather is evident in Monet's rendering of the exact moment in which the sun struggles to break through a light snowfall. He made a preparatory sketch for this painting; clearly, careful deliberation lay behind his seemingly spontaneous technique. The subject of falling snow and the figures with umbrellas are reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints, which had a strong influence on Impressionist artists.

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.9 x 81.6 cm (24 x 32 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1978.633

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • The River Loing at Gréz, France

    1890

    Frederic Porter Vinton, American, 1846–1911 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    65.4 x 81.28 cm (25 3/4 x 32 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    11.1388

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Street Scene

    about 1897

    Jean-François Raffaëlli, French, 1850–1924 French

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    56.2 x 73.6 cm (22 1/8 x 29 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.533

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Antibes Seen from the Plateau Notre-Dame

    1888

    Claude Monet, French, 1840–1926

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    65.7 x 81.3 cm (25 7/8 x 32 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    39.672

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • La Croix-Blanche at Saint-Mammès

    1884

    Alfred Sisley, British (active in France), 1839–1899 British

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    65.4 x 92.4 cm (25 3/4 x 36 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    39.680

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Village Street with a Rainbow

    1880s

    Jean Charles Cazin, French, 1841–1901

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    60 x 73.3 cm (23 5/8 x 28 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    43.135

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Custom House Tower from the Public Garden, Boston

    about 1914

    Arthur Clifton Goodwin, American, 1864–1929

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    42.86 x 53.02 cm (16 7/8 x 20 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.556

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Race Track

    about 1895–97

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast, American (born in Canada),...

    Description

    Maurice Prendergast painted "Racetrack" in Boston shortly after returning from almost four years in France, where he studied at the Académie Julian and tirelessly sketched scenes of Parisian life. Having observed Impressionist and Post-Impressionist pictures of Parisians promenading in parks, at the racetrack, and on the beach, Prendergast painted similar idyllic scenes in the Boston area. In "Race Track" he rendered both adults and children enjoying leisure time at a sporting event held in a large park. This is probably Franklin Park, laid out in the 1880s by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead as part of Boston's Emerald Necklace (a series of interconnected parks ringing the city). Instead of showing the excitement of the race itself, Prendergast portrayed the audience-on holiday and dressed in their Sunday clothes-between races. The artist delighted in painting white, pink, and gray dresses against the grid created by the fence and chairs. He punctuated the overall pattern of the painting with red-orange parasols, flags, and wagon wheels, giving the scene a festive air. A master watercolorist, Prendergast here treated oil paint as if it were watercolor, indicating white areas by leaving the canvas bare and using thin washes of pigment. The result is a cheerful exposition of urban middle-class recreation expressed through bold color and inventive composition.

    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

    58.42 x 52.7 cm (23 x 20 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil and graphite on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    62.321

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Houses at Auvers

    1890

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

    Description

    In May 1890, van Gogh moved from the south of France to Auvers, northwest of Paris, painting many of his finest pictures there in a feverish spurt of activity before his suicide in July. Houses at Auvers shows the landscape of early summer. The view from above creates a flattened tapestry of shapes in which the tiled and thatched roofs of the houses form a mesmerizing patchwork of color.

    Details

    Dimensions

    75.6 x 61.9 cm (29 3/4 x 24 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.549

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Dartmouth Street from Copley Square

    about 1910–20

    Arthur Clifton Goodwin, American, 1864–1929

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    33.02 x 48.26 cm (13 x 19 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel on paper mounted on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1984.915

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • The Piazzetta, Venice

    1828

    Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, French, 1796–1875

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    15.9 x 25.1 cm (6 1/4 x 9 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on paper, mounted on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    94.318

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • The Loing at Saint-Mammès

    1882

    Alfred Sisley, British (active in France), 1839–1899 British

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    49.8 x 64.9 cm (19 5/8 x 25 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.44

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Sunset

    about 1915–18

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast, American (born in Canada),...

    Description

    Although he exhibited with the Eight, Maurice Prendergast, along with Arthur Bowen Davies, preferred to depict the pleasant and carefree aspects of modern life. Born in Newfoundland and raised in Boston, Prendergast first traveled abroad in 1886 and later spent three years in Paris from 1891 to 1894. There he studied with Courtois at Atelier Colarossi before attending the life class at the Académie Julian. While in Paris he formed a close friendship with fellow Canadian painter James Morrice, who introduced him to a wide circle of artists and theorists. The experience was crucial and formative for Prendergast. He rapidly absorbed the innovations of contemporary French painting, especially the brushwork of Paul Cézanne and the colorful palette of Henri Matisse and the French Fauves, or Wild Beasts, as they were called by their critics.

    Prendergast renewed his intense interest in French painting after the turn of the century. He modified a decorative style inspired by the Post-Impressionists Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, who had earlier experimented with a technique of painting in small discrete strokes of color resembling a colorful mosaic or pattern of dots called pointillism. In "Sunset" Prendergast combines the vivid and opaque paints of the Fauves with a variety of short touches of color inspired by Signac, using them to render the textures of the costumes, trees, and sky.

    In contrast to the exuberant scenes of Americans at leisure that Prendergast had made at the turn of the century, "Sunset" belongs to a more static group of images produced late in his career. The silhouettes of figures, horses, and dogs arranged in a shallow foreground plane are reminiscent of ancient Egyptian or Assyrian reliefs. This elegiac scene of leisure also recalls the sense of longing and nostalgia evoked by the great bathers of Cézanne and Matisse. Painted during the turmoil of the Great War, "Sunset" suggests a fading era of innocence and carefree pursuits. Many of the grand resort hotels and amusement parks the artist had depicted in earlier paintings, drawings, and prints had by then fallen into ruin or been destroyed by fire and vandals. Although a sense of loss is evident in comparison to his previous images, Prendergast's bold technique and colorful palette in "Sunset" convey the intensity of his remembrance of times past.

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

    Details

    Dimensions

    53.34 x 81.28 cm (21 x 32 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1989.228

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Apollo and the Muses on Mount Helicon

    1680

    Claude Lorrain (Claude Gellée), French (active in Rome),...

    Description

    Born in the Lorraine region of France, Claude settled early in Italy and spent most of his life painting the countryside around Rome, with its many associations to the ancient world. This painting, done when he was eighty-two years old, represents Apollo, god of poetry and music, surrounded by the nine Muses, goddesses of the creative arts. At the upper right is the winged horse Pegasus, who has kicked a rock to release the spring that is the source of artistic inspiration. Although most of Claude's paintings included biblical or classical themes, their true subject was the light, atmosphere, and poetic mood of the natural world.

    Details

    Dimensions

    99.7 x 136.5 cm (39 1/4 x 53 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    12.1050

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Grand Canal, Venice

    1908

    Claude Monet, French, 1840–1926

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    73.7 x 92.4 cm (29 x 36 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.171

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Grand Canal, Venice

    1881

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French, 1841–1919

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.173

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Washerwomen near a Bridge

    1883

    Eugène Louis Boudin, French, 1824–1898

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    32 x 41 cm (12 5/8 x 16 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.512

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • The Ponte Vecchio, Florence

    1740–1780

    Circle Of Bernardo Bellotto, Italian (Venetian), 1720–1780...

    Description

    Bellotto studied with his uncle, Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto) beginning about 1735, and his early works are often confused with those of the older master. This view of the picturesque Ponte Vecchio was probably painted during Bellotto's extensive travels throughout northern Italy before he left the country permanently in 1747.

    Details

    Dimensions

    55.9 x 87.6 cm (22 x 34 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.1

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • On a Shaker Theme

    1956

    Charles Sheeler, American, 1883–1965 American

    Description

    Showing his deep respect for Shaker design, Sheeler wrote, "The Shaker communities, in the period of their greatest creative activity, have given us abundant evidence of their profound understanding of utilitarian design in their architecture and crafts. They understood and convincingly demonstrated that rightness of proportion in a house or a table, with regard for efficiency in use, made embellishment superfluous," (Quoted in Constance Rourke, "Charles Sheeler: Artist in the American Tradition," New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1938). Sheeler probably started collecting Shaker pieces in the 1920s, and began to include his Shaker furniture in paintings of domestic interiors such as "Interior" (1926, Whitney Museum of American Art). In 1934, he visited the Shaker villages in Hancock, Massachusetts and in New Lebanon, New York, where he photographed the Second Meeting House. In the same year he painted his first oil of Shaker architecture, "Shaker Buildings" (private collection), a rendering of the laundry and machine shop in Hancock, which he was to portray in three more paintings, including "On a Shaker Theme."
    The laundry and machine shop is a three and one half story building constructed in 1790. The structure served as a washhouse, machine house, herb and seed room, and woodshed and thus it exemplified the Shaker principle of maximum utility (Mary Jane Jacob, "The Impact of Shaker Design on the Work of Charles Sheeler," unpublished M.A. thesis, 1976, quoted in Flo Morse, "The Shakers and the World's People," New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1980, p. 138). Over time and subsequent renovations it had acquired a unique shape. Two additions to the original building created interesting relationships of structural angles and forms that especially appealed to Sheeler. He depicted the building a second time in 1941 in "Shaker Detail" (The Newark Museum), showing a closer view but from the same angle as in his 1934 "Shaker Buildings." His final two paintings of the laundry and machine shop are the Museum's painting and "On a Shaker Theme #2" (Babcock Galleries), both composite images painted in 1956. While the first two pictures of the laundry and machine shop are straightforward representations, in the last two paintings, Sheeler interpreted the Shaker architecture in his late style, which employs more abstracted forms.
    In 1946, Sheeler had begun to experiment with composite photography as a basis for his paintings. He superimposed photographic negatives, sometimes reversing them, to arrive at evocative compositions. In "On a Shaker Theme," Sheeler overlaid two images, one slightly smaller and in reverse, of the portion of the laundry and machine shop depicted in "Shaker Detail." He also radically simplified the details of the building so that windows and doors are reduced to rectangles. Sheeler's method of overlapping images resulted in a complicated scaffolding of diagonals and verticals. "On a Shaker Theme" celebrates the refined geometric forms that underlie Shaker design, although its compositional intricacy eschews the Shaker virtues of purity and simplicity. This complexity, however, becomes integral to the piece if we consider the title of the painting to be musical - Sheeler had used musical titles starting in 1940 with "Fugue" [40.780] - as in Brahms's "Variations on a Theme by Haydn." Some of Brahms's variations on a simple theme become quite complex with the addition of contrasting but parallel melodic lines played along with the theme. Thus Sheeler took the simple geometric shapes that he admired in Shaker architecture as his theme, and by using composite photography created an intricate tribute to a beloved building.

    Janet Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    58.42 x 73.98 cm (23 x 29 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1972.61

    Collections

    Americas , Contemporary Art

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Fugue

    1940

    Charles Sheeler, American, 1883–1965 American

    Description

    Charles Sheeler's precise painting style, informed by his sharply-focused photography, was well-suited to record the American industrial boom during the first half of the twentieth century, and he benefitted from several corporate commissions. Late in 1938 Sheeler received a request from "Fortune" to paint a series of pictures on the theme of "power." The resulting images were to be reproduced in the magazine. He traveled extensively in 1939-40, seeking subjects for the paintings, and during this time he visited a small power plant in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the scene of "Fugue." The painting was one of the first pictures Sheeler made after completing his six well-known compositions for the magazine. "I was on a motor trip though New England and in passing through New Bedford in the late afternoon I came upon this subject unexpectedly," he wrote. "It was a breath-taking sight. I walked around it for several hours." (Sheeler to W. G. Constable, Curator of Paintings, December 20, 1940, Art of the Americas files, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). The plant, no longer standing, supplied power for the city's electric trolleys.
    Sheeler made several different photographs of the site from a neighboring park and later selected one of his pictures (The Lane Collection) as his model for "Fugue." In the painting, he faithfully rendered the facts of the scene but eliminated many incidental details recorded in the photograph, among them a chain-link fence that ran behind the barrels, guy wires which supported the chimneys and smokestacks, and the thick black smoke that issued from the stacks. He chose instead to emphasize the formal aspects of the composition: the stately rhythm of the smokestacks and the play of their cylindrical forms with those of the tank, barrels, and utility poles below; the elegant checkered patterning of the small windowpanes; and the orderly configuration of the gray corrugated siding of the central shed.
    The conscientious repetition of like forms in the painting presumably inspired Sheeler's title, for a fugue is a musical composition in which a theme is introduced by one voice and then repeated and developed by other voices into a well-defined whole. The constant overlapping of forms in a fugue is here realized in visual terms. Each structure is flattened and superimposed upon the next, creating a band of design across the picture's surface and emphasizing two-dimensional pattern rather than spatial recession. This purposeful control is reiterated by Sheeler's choice of a small brush and the tempera medium, whose quick-drying properties require the careful use of deliberate strokes. "Fugue" is the first of several compositions of the 1940s with musical titles, including "Improvisations" (1945, The Lane Collection) and "Counterpoint" (1949, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.).
    "Fugue" was first exhibited, along with recent works by other artists, at the Downtown Gallery's inaugural show in its new 51st Street location in New York City. Reviewers admired its exactness and its crisp, cool palette (Jeanette Lowe, "51st Street Becomes Downtown," "Art News," vol. 39, October 19, 1940, p. 12). It was immediately purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (the only modernist painting the museum bought that year), where it joined "View of New York" (35.69). Sheeler continued to be inspired by this functional, unornamented building with its rhythmic grouping of smokestacks, and painted two other canvases based upon it: "Fugue" (1945, Regis Collection, Minneapolis) and "Stacks in Celebration" (1954, Dayton Art Institute).

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

    Details

    Dimensions

    35.56 x 43.18 cm (14 x 17 in.)

    Medium

    Tempera and graphite on gessoed Masonite

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    40.780

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Drug Store

    1927

    Edward Hopper, American, 1882–1967

    Description

    Edward Hopper was one of the most important observers of the American scene beginning in the 1920s. Although Hopper had been a student of Robert Henri [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=Robert%20Earle%20Henri] in New York and was familiar with the busy urban realist scenes of the Ashcan School of painters, he focused his own imagery on the alienation of modern life. He often portrayed solitary and isolated figures that seem to be aching with loneliness or multiple figures that do not interact. Hopper also recorded architectural scenes, both rural and urban, instilling each with a similar feeling of abandonment; he chronicled the ravages of the Depression by depicting forsaken farms and “For Sale” signs on suburban streets.
    In 1927 Hopper delivered a painting entitled Ex Lax—Drug Store to his dealer Frank K. M. Rehn in New York City. Peggy Rehn, the dealer’s wife, felt that the allusion to a laxative was indelicate, and Hopper was persuaded to change the second X to a C, which he did in watercolor. Shortly thereafter, however, John T. Spaulding, a Boston lawyer and collector who favored bold images, bought the painting for $1,500 and encouraged Hopper to restore the product name. Now known as Drug Store, the painting is one of Hopper’s early masterpieces. Many of the themes and devices seen in his later work are evident in this striking picture.

    In Drug Store Hopper utilized the brilliance of electric light, his love of architectural features, and his sense of drama to convey eerie nocturnal solitude. In many of his nighttime paintings, dazzling light streams from a window surrounded by darkness. Here the bright lights within the pharmacy, the light over the door, and the unseen street lamp combine to produce geometric designs on the pavement and to illuminate architectural elements. In this late-night scene of the then-ubiquitous corner drug store, Hopper’s New York City is deserted and ominously silent. No people stroll along the sidewalk. No cars crowd the street. The sense of danger lurking in the shadows negates the welcome of the brightly lit window.

    As he did in many of his urban paintings, Hopper chose to depict a street corner building—Silbers Pharmacy is seen from a slightly oblique angle. Hopper explores the repeating rectangles of curbing, building, storefront, and signs, and uses bold lettering to punctuate his formal design. The window of this independent drug store displays red and green apothecary bottles, like the running lights of ships in the dark. The patriotic colors of the red, white, and blue window decorations are a reminder that Hopper consistently identified himself with such quintessentially American subjects—the stores, diners, offices, and apartments frequented by ordinary citizens. However, the pride of patriotism is tempered here by the brazen advertisement of a well-known laxative.

    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

    Unframed: 73.7 x 101.9 cm (29 x 40 1/8 in.) Framed: 83.8 x 111.8 x 8.3 cm (33 x 44 x 3 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.564

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Italo-American Celebration, Washington Square

    about 1912

    William James Glackens, American, 1870–1938 American

    Description

    After studying at the Pennsylvania Academy at night and making his living with John Sloan, George Luks, and Everett Shinn as an illustrator at The Philadelphia Press, William James Glackens continued his artistic education abroad. Cycling through Northern Europe with Robert Henri in 1895, Glackens returned to Paris, where he had ample opportunity to study French painters, particularly the works of Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Renoir, whom he greatly admired. Although he shared Henri's passion for the dark palette of Manet, by the time he painted this work Glackens had adopted the lighter tones and loose brushwork of Renoir.

    Glackens established himself in New York City by 1896, and in 1910 he began a series of paintings depicting the Washington Square area. By then the park represented the demarcation between the old and new communities of New York. Some of the most prominent New York families who traced their ancestry to the seventeenth-century Dutch settlers still resided in the brick townhouses along the north side of the square, which are visible through the trees on the right. However, the less fashionable neighborhoods around Washington Square attracted newly arrived immigrants who worked in the factories and sweatshops nearby and also artists (including Glackens) who were drawn to the bohemian lifestyle of the district.

    When Glackens painted this scene of the parade celebrating Christopher Columbus's discovery of America, Italian-Americans formed the largest immigrant population in Manhattan. Columbus became a role model for many ethnic and religious groups, and Glackens suggests the international flavor of the celebration by painting a variety of flags visible through Washington Square Arch. The juxtaposition of the Old World and the New is further enhanced by the prominence of the Italian and American flags standing side by side in the lower foreground. The American dream of rapid transformation from immigrant to respected community leader is suggested by the modestly dressed onlookers who observe both the decorated men in top hats seated under the arch and those successful citizens spirited away above the throng in a carriage. Rendered with lively brushwork to enhance the festive and breezy atmosphere, the composition presents a distinctly American spectacle of Italian-American revelers and their pride of place in the urban scene.

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

    Details

    Dimensions

    65.4 x 81.28 cm (25 3/4 x 32 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    59.658

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Ore Into Iron

    1953

    Charles Sheeler, American, 1883–1965 American

    Description

    Sheeler first turned to American industry for his subject matter when he received an important commission to photograph the Ford Motor Company plant in River Rouge, Michigan, in 1927. His resulting images of industrial architecture and machinery brought acclaim, and Sheeler came to admire the functional, utilitarian beauty of industrial design. He continued to paint and photograph it throughout his career, using its familiar vocabulary to explore each of his new stylistic interests. Ore into Iron displays the fascination with overlapping, transparent planes that Sheeler developed in the last decade of his career. When it was first exhibited in New York in 1956, this painting was described as “so complex in its mingling of factual suggestion and abstract distortion that it’s practically dazzling.” [1]

    Ore into Iron depicts the blast furnaces of the U.S. Steel plant in Pittsburgh, which Sheeler visited in 1952. He took several photographs of the plant, selecting a low vantage point that made the furnaces appear to soar into the air in the same manner as the New York skyscrapers he had been studying. He later experimented with his photographic negatives in the darkroom, reversing and superimposing them and making composite prints. Ore into Iron was modeled after a relatively simple composite print (Blast Furnaces, U.S. Steel, Pittsburgh, 1952, The Lane Collection[JMS1] ) in which the same scene appears twice, once frontward and once in reverse. Aerial Gyrations (1953, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) is a companion piece to Ore into Iron; it was based on the same photographs in a different combination. Four years later, Sheeler depicted the subject matter again in Continuity (location unknown). [2] All three pictures have related studies in tempera on paper and in tempera on Plexiglas.

    Sheeler undermines the massive bulk of the heavy machinery by rendering it with an extremely delicate touch: the paint is applied thinly and precisely, and is confined to discrete areas by neatly drawn pencil outlines. Color enhances the airy, light effect, as the deep violet-blue used for the one image blends into the pinkish brown of the other. Large opaque areas of pigment at the bottom of the composition become translucent at the center and top. The outlines of the furnaces and catwalks meld into one another, their function succumbing to intricate pattern. Dense at the bottom of the picture and more delicate at the top, the forms of the blast furnaces become ethereal.

    The total effect is almost cinematic, for one image appears to be fading into another, dissolving and reforming on the surface of the canvas, just as ore is smelted into iron in the blast furnaces portrayed here. Sheeler’s title, explaining the physical process he is showing, is unusual in its descriptiveness. But he addresses more than this industrial transformation; he explores an aesthetic metamorphosis as well. Here factory forms are translated into artistic ones, photography becomes painting, and reality turns into abstraction.

    Notes
    1. Robert M. Coates, “The Art Galleries: Gauguin and Sheeler,” The New Yorker, April 14, 1956, 112.
    2. Sotheby’s New York, American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, May 24, 1989, Lot 00233.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Erica E. Hirshler, Charles Sheeler: Paintings and Drawings (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987).

    [JMS1]L-R 2571.2001. Include as supplemental illustration, if possible. Karen Haas in PDP can advise on rights.

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.28 x 46.04 cm (24 1/8 x 18 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1990.381

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • 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

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Maitland Bridge #2

    1938

    Ralston Crawford, American (born in Canada), 1906–1978 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    101.92 x 81.91 cm (40 1/8 x 32 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1990.389

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Bay of Naples

    about 1830

    Robert Walter Weir, American, 1803–1889 American

    Description

    At the age of twenty-one, with the help of patrons John Delafield of New York and Henry Carey of Philadelphia, Weir set sail for Livorno, Italy, on December 15, 1824. He stayed first in Florence for a year, studying briefly with Pietro Benvenuti, one of Italy’s leading neoclassical painters. In December 1825, he moved to Rome, where he shared lodgings with the American sculptor Horatio Greenough [92.2642, 1973.601]. Weir drew from the antique at the French Academy in Rome; copied Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian at the Vatican and in private collections; and sketched the classical ruins and surrounding countryside. In January 1827, he traveled to Naples. Greenough arrived soon after, but became ill with malaria. Though Weir nursed his countryman, Greenough did not recover his health; in late March, Weir sacrificed his plans for further travels in Italy to accompany the sculptor back to the United States. Weir never returned to Europe, but he had made sufficient water color sketches and ink drawings to supply him with material for paintings for the next fifty years.
    Weir’s Bay of Naples was completed soon after his return. His vantage point was probably in the vicinity of the Camaldoli Monastery, situated on the highest point in the city. George Hillard, in his travel book Six Months in Italy (1853), called the view from this spot the most beautiful he had ever seen. The artist Sanford Robinson Gifford [64.428] had described its “magnificent panorama, rich in natural beauty and classical associations” and “the broad bay with long sweeping lines of Vesuvius.”[1]Another traveler wrote:
    [Block quote]
    I had seated myself on the brow of the eminence whence the fathers of the Camaldoli look down on the fairy scene below. And how beautiful was that scene! The sun had not yet sunk into the ocean, but the brightness of his rays was lost in the rich red glare of a vast but thin cloud, through which they seemed to be diffused. The purple light was spread over the bay . . . a thousand skiffs were waiting to catch the lazy breeze, or stealing silently along. [2]
    [/Block quote]

    In Weir’s painting, Mount Vesuvius, which had erupted as recently as 1822, appears at center. The domes of the city of Naples are visible in front of the volcano, and the island fortress of Castello dell’Ovo [47.1196] juts out into the bay. Dark shadows in the foreground heighten the effect of the bright light on the monastery buildings and the haze enveloping Vesuvius. Monks, sheep, and visitors, as typical regional subjects, serve to reinforce the “Italian” nature of the scene. Soon after Weir’s visit, other American artists working in Italy, among them Thomas Cole [47.1198], would also include such figures to enliven a landscape. The characteristically Italian umbrella-shaped stone pine [47.1247] that frames the scene also helps to identify the setting as Mediterranean. Although the early history of Weir’s panel is unknown, Bay of Naples must have reminded its original owners of one of the most beautiful panoramas in the world, rendered by one of the first American artists lured by the splendor of Italy.

    Aside from Italian scenes, Weir also painted historical, literary [48.486], and religious works, portraits, landscapes, and genre scenes; he is best known for his large painting Embarkation of the Pilgrims, which was installed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in 1843. Weir spent forty-two years as instructor of drawing at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where his students included James Abbott McNeill Whistler [42.302], Robert E. Lee, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Ulysses S. Grant. He is the father of artists John Ferguson Weir [23.162] and Julian Alden Weir [47.1289].

    Notes
    1. Sanford R. Gifford, “European Letters,”March 10, 1856–August 10, 1857, typescript, vol. 2, pp. 154–55, Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C.
    2. “Ischia and Procida, from the Camaldoli, Recollections of a Solitary Traveller,” in The Atlantic Souvenir (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey, 1828), 314.

    Janet L. Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    33.02 x 50.8 cm (13 x 20 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.71

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Church of Le Sacré-Coeur, from rue Saint-Rustique

    Maurice Utrillo, French, 1883–1955 French

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    49.8 x 61 cm (19 5/8 x 24 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.607

    Collections

    Contemporary Art , Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • An Old Time Fishing Village

    about 1926

    Harry Aiken Vincent, American, 1864–1931

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    55.88 x 71.12 cm (22 x 28 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.610

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Naples Afternoon

    about 1948

    William Grosvenor Congdon, American, 1912–1998 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    53.02 x 34.92 cm (20 7/8 x 13 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil and gold leaf on plywood

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    50.2417

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Pigeons

    1910

    John Sloan, American, 1871–1951 American

    Description

    After attending Central High School in Philadelphia, John Sloan taught himself etching and by 1891 was making his living as a commercial illustrator. While a full-time staff artist for the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1892, Sloan began taking drawing classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he met Robert Henri [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=Robert%20Earle%20Henri], who encouraged him (as well as William James Glackens [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=William%20James%20Glackens], Everett Shinn [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=Everett%20Shinn], and George Luks [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=George%20Benjamin%20Luks]) to take up painting. Sloan stubbornly refused to travel to Europe with the others, and remained in Philadelphia until in 1903 he joined his colleagues in New York City.
    From the vantage point of his studio on West 23rd Street, Sloan worked in a range of media to depict the scenes of daily life he witnessed on the rooftops. Etchings like Roofs, Summer Night (1906) and Love on the Roof (1914) and paintings such as Sunday, Women Drying Their Hair (1912, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts) convey a sense of the freedom and escape the roofs provided from the suffocating confines of New York tenement living. Here Sloan depicts the then popular pastime of raising pigeons, which were let loose daily to fly for exercise. Witnessed by their trainer and a young boy perched on the tenement wall, the birds circling above seem to give visual expression to the men’s dreams of a flight of fancy high above the city.

    Sloan described his desire to capture the golden light of evening that illuminates the skyline so brilliantly, an interest reminiscent of the French Impressionists’ concern with effects of light at different times of day. He noted that the fleeting quality of light before sunset was present for only twenty minutes and recalled interrupting his work each day to achieve the warm orange “pre-sunset glow.” [1] The dwindling daylight suggests the passage of time; in similar fashion, New York’s skyline delineates the transformation of the urban scene at the dawn of the new century. At the right a church steeple is clearly visible, and illuminated behind the pigeon trainer, the construction of Pennsylvania Station appears. The new building was symbolically replacing the old—a modern temple of progress in the rapidly expanding city.

    Notes
    1. John Sloan, diary entry, February 7, 1910, quoted in Bruce St. John, ed., John Sloan’s New York Scene from the Diaries, Notes and Correspondence 1906–1913 (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 384.

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

    Details

    Dimensions

    66.36 x 81.28 cm (26 1/8 x 32 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    35.52

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Port Jefferson, Long Island

    1920s

    Preston Dickinson, American, 1889–1930 American

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    57.47 x 43.81 cm (22 5/8 x 17 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel on paper mounted on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.539

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Fountain of Trevi, Rome

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    50.2 x 64.8 cm (19 3/4 x 25 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    57.66

    Collections

    Europe

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia
  • Noontime, St. Botolph Street, Boston

    about 1923

    George Benjamin Luks, American, 1866–1933

    Description

    George Luks, a realist painter associated with Robert Henri and the Ashcan school, chose the crowded streets of New York City, and the urban and rural poor as his subjects. He is noted for his broadly-brushed paintings of miners, elderly women, immigrant children, and wrestlers (see 45.9). In a lesser-known chapter of his life, Luks painted more than a dozen oils and watercolors during an extended visit to Boston in 1922 and 1923. He was the guest of a former student, Margarett Sargent McKean, a cousin of John Singer Sargent and an aspiring artist. Margarett Sargent had been an apprentice of sculptor Gutzon Borglum in 1917, when she met Luks and began to study painting with him. By the late 1920s, she was painting strikingly modernist oils and began to exhibit her work at Kraushaar Galleries in New York.

    In 1922 Luks, fresh from a sanitarium where he was recovering from a bout with alcohol and recently divorced from his second wife, visited Sargent. By this time she was married to Quincy Adams Shaw McKean, a private banker in Boston. She later recalled that Luks had come to visit her for a weekend, but had stayed for almost a year. Not only did McKean provide living quarters for Luks, she also allowed him the use of her studio at 30 St. Botolph Street and organized an exhibition of his work in her summer home in Beverly, Massachusetts.

    McKean remembered that Luks disdained the Boston painters who remained in their prim studios painting hired nude models. He exclaimed, "Why didn't they look at Beacon Hill, Commonwealth Avenue, the Swan Boats, fruit vendors on Charles Street, the squalor of St. Botolph Street and the vigorous L. Street Brownies?" (Margarett Sargent McKean, "George Luks," Boston: Joan Peterson Gallery, 1966, brochure in MFA American paintings files). Luks threw himself into painting these subjects in Boston (see 60.538 and 1979.263). In "Noontime, St. Botolph Street, Boston," he depicted the scene outside Margarett's studio at midday when the shadows cast by the awnings were very pronounced against the old-fashioned bow-front facades of the buildings. These elliptical bays protruding from the structures on St. Botolph Street and elsewhere in the Back Bay and the South End were constructed beginning in the 1840s. They were peculiar to Boston and almost unknown in Luks's New York City. St. Botolph Street is situated between the Back Bay and South End sections of Boston. Laid out in the early 1880s, St. Botolph Street initially attracted middleclass residents. By the early 1920s when Luks was painting in the area, most of the middleclass families had moved to the suburbs, the neighborhood had become more Bohemian, and many of the townhouses had been turned into lodging houses.

    In addition to painting the striped awnings against the yellow- and red-brick facades on St. Botolph Street, Luks also included an iceman carrying a block of ice with tongs. To the left is probably a part of the ice wagon's wheel. Before refrigerators were introduced into most homes in the 1930s, food was stored in iceboxes, and blocks of ice were delivered door to door by an iceman. Luks's inclusion of this unglamorous figure was typical of the Ashcan school artists, who made working people, from longshoremen to scrubwomen, the subjects of their pictures. Luks painted a related work entitled "St. Botolph Street," depicting women sitting on their stoops socializing on a summer's evening ("Skinner: American and European Paintings," May 8, 1998, lot 220).

    Margarett Sargent McKean and her husband acquired many of Luks's Boston paintings, including "Noontime, St. Botolph Street, Boston." In 1960 the Museum purchased two of Luks's Boston pictures, the present painting and "View of Beacon Street from Boston Common" (60.538).

    Janet Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    60.537

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
    More Info
    Multimedia

Contents