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MFA Images: Country Life

  • MFA Images: Country Life - Slide

  • Ile-de-Vaux on the Oise near Auvers

    1876

    Charles François Daubigny (French, 1817–1878)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40.6 x 68.6 cm (16 x 27 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.400

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Evening at Saint-Privé

    1890

    Henri Joseph Harpignies (French, 1819–1916)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.486

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Gathering Wood in the Forest of Fontainebleau

    about 1850–60

    Théodore Rousseau (French, 1812–1867)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    54.6 x 65.4 cm (21 1/2 x 25 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.399

    Collections

    Europe

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  • View of Triel

    1865

    Paul Camille Guigou (French, 1834–1871 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    28.6 x 45.7 cm (11 1/4 x 18 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    22.669

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Fisherman's Cottage on the Cliffs at Varengeville

    1882

    Description

    Summertime often drew Monet to the English Channel coast, and in 1881 and 1882 he explored the area around Dieppe, situated about ninety-six kilometers to the east along the coast from Le Havre. For the purpose of giving focus to the scenes he painted in Pourville and Varengeville, west of Dieppe, Monet liked the stone cabins that had been built during the Napoleonic era as posts from which to observe coastal traffic. In Monet's day they were used by fishermen for storage. The door and flanking windows anthropomorphize the cottage, giving it a nose and two eyes. We may see the cottage, but we cannot reach it, for there is no path. Indeed, all we can do is admire the view out to sea. The Channel, dotted with recreational yachts, sparkles in the distance. The cottage, especially its roof, is given an orange hue, which it may truly have possessed but which makes a striking contrast of complementaries with the blue of the water on the horizon.

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.6 x 81.6 cm (23 7/8 x 32 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    21.1331

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Last Rays of Sun on a Field of Sainfoin

    about 1870

    Antoine Chintreuil (French, 1814–1873 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    95.9 x 134 cm (37 3/4 x 52 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    22.78

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Salmon Fishing

    1927

    Frank Weston Benson (American, 1862–1951)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    91.76 x 112.08 cm (36 1/8 x 44 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    27.574

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Waterworks at Marly

    about 1876

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    46.5 x 61.8 cm (18 5/16 x 24 5/16 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    45.662

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Cayambe

    1858

    Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900)

    Description

    Frederic Church achieved great renown in the nineteenth century for his heroic landscape paintings, among them Heart of the Andes (1859, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), in which he combined on a ten-foot (three-meter) canvas details of lush vegetation with a sweeping vista of valleys, plains, a waterfall, a church, and mountains of the Ecuadoran Andean landscape, culminating in the snow-capped peak of Chimborazo. But Church also conveyed the grandeur of the South American landscape in smaller oil sketches, such as Cayambe. Painted after his second trip to Ecuador, Cayambe shows the volcano of the same name in the distance, behind a lake lined with luxuriant tropical foliage.
    Church had first seen this volcano during his initial trip to South America in 1852. On that occasion, he was accompanied by Cyrus Field, a wealthy paper manufacturer who later won fame as the father of the transatlantic cable. Church and Field visited Colombia and Ecuador, following in the footsteps of Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), the celebrated German naturalist and explorer, under whose spell the artist had fallen in his mid-twenties. In his Picturesque Atlas (1814), Humboldt illustrated Cayambe in full color and described it as “the most beautiful as well as the most majestic” snowpeak near Quito.[1] He remarked that Cayambe was directly on the equator, and therefore “one of these eternal monuments by which nature has marked the great division of the terrestrial globe.”[2]

    Humboldt had also urged artists to study the flora through “coloured sketches taken directly from nature . . . the only means by which the artist, on his return, may reproduce the character of distant regions in more elaborately finished pictures,” and Church followed his advice, sketching avidly on the journey (as he did on his forays throughout the United States). [3]Among the images of the volcano he made are Mount Cayambe, Ecuador, a drawing in pencil showing the top of the mountain (1853, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York), and Cayambe, a more finished oil sketch depicting the cone as well as the slopes and surrounding hilly landscape (about 1853, Olana State Historic Site, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation).

    The paintings Church completed after returning from his first visit were well received, and he planned a second trip to South America in 1857, this time accompanied by the painter Louis Rémy Mignot. During this visit, the artists concentrated on the magnificent Andean mountains of Ecuador. Church seemed particularly interested in observing atmospheric conditions and light effects. He made a pencil and gouache drawing of Cayambe, recording the time of day, his position, and color notes: Cayambe, Morning, from the Temple of the Sun (June 24, 1857, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York). Below the summit of Cayambe, Church painted a layer of snow using white gouache and wrote on the sketch “snow . . . lying on the summits of the lesser mountains and paramos [high plateaus] . . . beautiful bluish haze.”

    Among the first paintings Church completed upon his return was a commission for a wealthy businessman and fellow devotee of Humboldt, Robert L. Stuart. Also titled Cayambe (1858, New-York Historical Society, on permanent loan from the New York Public Library), Stuart’s painting, at 30 by 48 inches (76.2 by121.9 cm), was larger than the MFA’s. The MFA’s Cayambe may have been executed in the process of composing Stuart’s composition. The Stuart picture differs from the MFA’s canvas not only in size but also in coloration—it is less green and lush—and in the inclusion of an ancient ruin and additional palm trees. Stuart had a particular fascination with archeology, and Church may have included the ruin for him.

    Although the MFA’s Cayambe may have been a study for the larger painting, Church took pains to imbue the painting with the distinctive atmosphere of dusk. The pale moon has risen, and although the sun has set, the afterglow still illuminates the snow-capped volcano. The twilight sky tinges the snow on the lower reaches of the mountain and the lake with a striking blue color— the “beautiful bluish haze” Church had noted on his sketch. This hue is also found in the flowers and the mist from an unseen waterfall that issues from the lagoon in the center foreground. In Cayambe Church juxtaposed a tropical jungle, a temperate zone, and the frozen area of the snow-capped volcano, thereby representing a composite of the natural history of Ecuador. Cayambe is thus a reflection on the diversity and complexity of the natural world as well as a stunning image of the “most beautiful . . . [and] most majestic” snowpeak.

    The early history of the MFA’s Cayambe is unknown. When the painting became available on the New York art market in the 1940s, it was purchased by Maxim Karolik, who appreciated oil sketches as much as finished works. His wife Martha Codman Karolik gave Cayambe to the MFA in 1947.

    Notes
    1. Katherine Emma Manthorne, Tropical Renaissance: North American Artists Exploring Latin America, 1839–1879, New Directions in American Art (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), 101.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Alexander von Humboldt, Cosmos: A Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe, trans. Elise C. Otté, vol. 2 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1849), 452.

    Janet L. Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    30.48 x 45.72 cm (12 x 18 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1237

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Niagara Falls from the Foot of Goat Island

    1857

    Jasper Francis Cropsey (American, 1823–1900)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    39.05 x 61.28 cm (15 3/8 x 24 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1238

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    Americas

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  • Meadow Lands

    1890

    Dennis Miller Bunker (American, 1861–1890 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    63.5 x 76.2 cm (25 x 30 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    91.43

    Collections

    Americas

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

    1927

    Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.723

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Sand Dunes of Essex, Massachusetts

    1884

    William Lamb Picknell (American, 1854–1897 American)

    Description

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Janet L. Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    85.486

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  • Morning Sunlight on the Snow, Éragny-sur-Epte

    1895

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    82.3 x 61.6 cm (32 3/8 x 24 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.1321

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Water Lilies

    1907

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    96.8 x 98.4 cm (38 1/8 x 38 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.170

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    Europe

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  • Road through a Forest

    Jacques d'Arthois (Flemish, 1613–1686 Flemish)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    124.5 x 175.9 cm (49 x 69 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    84.249

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    Europe

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  • Valley of the Creuse (Gray Day)

    1889

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    65.5 x 81.2 cm (25 13/16 x 31 15/16 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    06.115

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    Europe

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  • Landscape

    about 1890

    Philip Leslie Hale (American, 1865–1931)

    Description

    Landscape is perhaps Philip Leslie Hale’s most progressive painting, reflecting his awareness of Monet’s move to more abstract subjects (in his series of poplar paintings, for instance) and of Les Nabis (the Prophets), an avant-garde French movement that sought to disavow academicism in favor of more decorative aspects of art. Led by Paul Sérusier [60.742], Maurice Denis [60.275], Pierre Bonnard [60.57], and Edouard Vuillard [48.612], Les Nabis experimented with simplified drawing, flat patches of color, and bold contours in the pursuit of decorative beauty rather than description. Both Monet and Les Nabis were influenced by Japanese aesthetics, which liberated the artist from a literal transcription of nature and emphasized simplified natural forms and the extraction of decorative patterns from nature.
    The lack of a central focus, bright colors, and loose brushwork of Landscape are reminiscent of Monet’s poplar paintings. Hale used yellow pigment to convey the effects of the midday sun, green for both the foliage of the trees and their shadows, and blue and lavender for the tree trunks. The influence of Les Nabis is apparent in the flatness of the design and the primacy of surface pattern. Hale employed bands of color in a decorative grid of rhythmic verticals and horizontals, relieved by the single tall tree in the left foreground. Hale’s inventive composition borders on abstraction and presages developments that would occur in Paris after the turn of the century. These experiments proceeded without Hale, however, who retreated toward more descriptive canvases after 1900.

    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

    46.04 x 55.88 cm (18 1/8 x 22 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1985.689

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  • Deauville at Low Tide

    1897

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    55 x 95 cm (21 5/8 x 37 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1981.719

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    Europe

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  • Blossoming Trees

    1882

    Childe Hassam (American, 1859–1935)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 26.7 x 22.9 cm (10 1/2 x 9 in.)

    Medium

    Opaque watercolor on brown paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    65.1301

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  • The Knolls, New Hampshire

    1879–1935

    Childe Hassam (American, 1859–1935)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    25.4 x 35.6cm (10 x 14in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite pencil

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    65.1302

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  • Souvenir of a Meadow at Brunoy

    about 1855–65

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    90.5 x 115.9 cm (35 5/8 x 45 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    16.1

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    Europe

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  • Training Grape Vines

    about 1860–64

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    43.8 x 64.1 cm (17 1/4 x 25 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel on blue-gray wove paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    17.1528

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Farm at Recouvrières, Nièvre

    1831

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    47.6 x 70.2 cm (18 3/4 x 27 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.82

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    Europe

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  • Field outside Paris

    1845–51

    Constant Troyon (French, 1810–1865 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    27 x 45.4 cm (10 5/8 x 17 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.117

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    Europe

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  • Château-Gaillard at Sunset

    about 1873

    Charles François Daubigny (French, 1817–1878)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    38.1 x 68.6 cm (15 x 27 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    18.18

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    Europe

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  • Bacchanal at the Spring: Souvenir of Marly-le-Roi

    1872

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    82.2 x 66.3 cm (32 3/8 x 26 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.3234

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    Europe

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  • Priory at Vauville, Normandy

    1872–74

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    89.9 x 116.8 cm (35 3/8 x 46 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1532

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    Europe

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  • Farmhouse

    1868

    Winckworth Allan Gay (American, 1821–1910 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40.32 x 65.09 cm (15 7/8 x 25 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    13.453

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Alps

    about 1847

    Winckworth Allan Gay (American, 1821–1910 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    27.3 x 35.24 cm (10 3/4 x 13 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    13.463

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  • Road from Malavaux, near Cusset

    1867

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 11.2 x 16.2 cm (4 7/16 x 6 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor and pen and brown ink over graphite pencil on dark cream laid paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    76.425

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Le Dormoir du Nid de l'Aigle, Fontainebleau

    by 1877

    Artist Armand Théophile Cassagne (French, 1823–1907 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 42.4 x 62.6 cm (16 11/16 x 24 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on heavy cream wove paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    78.42

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Summer: Fishermen Netting

    1850s

    Thomas Chambers (American (born in England), 1808–1866 or later...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    46.35 x 61.91 cm (18 1/4 x 24 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    62.266

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  • Stream in the Forest

    about 1862

    Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    156.8 x 114 cm (61 3/4 x 44 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    55.982

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    Europe

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  • Landscape in Southern France

    about 1917–27

    André Derain (French, 1880–1954)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    50.5 x 60.6 cm (19 7/8 x 23 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.535

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    Europe

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  • Mountain Landscape from Clavadel

    1925–26

    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880–1938)

    Description

    Kirchner suffered a complete mental and physical collapse after being called up for service during World War I; he then settled in Switzerland, hoping the mountain air would cure mind and body. He turned to painting the high Alps, with bold colors and coarse brushwork, suggesting man at peace with nature-an ideal that contrasted sharply with his own wartime experience.

    Details

    Dimensions

    135 x 200.3 cm (53 1/8 x 78 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    56.13

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    Europe

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  • Corfu: Cypresses

    1909

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 40.4 x 53.3 cm (15 7/8 x 21 in.)

    Medium

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

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.206

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  • Simplon Pass: Avalanche Track

    about 1909-11

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 32.7 x 52.8 cm (12 7/8 x 20 13/16 in.)

    Medium

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

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.210

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  • River in the Hills

    1940

    Milton Clark Avery (American, 1885–1965 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 78.1 x 56.5 cm (30 3/4 x 22 1/4 in.) Framed: 74.9 x 95.9 cm (29 1/2 x 37 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    1971.147

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  • In the Valley of the Seine

    about 1889

    John Leslie Breck (American, 1860–1899)

    Description

    Breck was an innovator of the American Impressionist movement and one of the first American painters to travel to Giverny, the small village in Normandy where Claude Monet, the master of French Impressionist landscape painting, had settled in 1883. Breck worked there with four of his compatriots in the summer of 1887 and returned to the town on multiple occasions. Along with his better-known colleague Theodore Robinson, he was among the few Americans admitted to Monet’s inner circle, invited to paint in the artist’s garden and reluctantly allowed to court one of his stepdaughters, Blanche Hoschedé.
    In the Valley of the Seine is one of Breck’s largest and most ambitious compositions. Breck was committed to Impressionism and its stated ideal of making finished works outdoors directly from nature, but it seems likely that he completed this canvas indoors, in his studio. Its large format would have made it difficult to carry up the steep hills behind the village, and the composition seems scrupulously planned and carefully executed.

    Breck depicted the entire panorama of the Seine river valley, looking out past the rooftops of the village and its cultivated fields and grainstacks to the distinctive poplar trees that line the riverbed (all subjects being explored by Monet in several series of paintings). Breck used varied brushstrokes of bright greens, blues, purples, oranges, and yellows, stippling his canvas to capture the flicker of leaves in the trees and drawing out his brush to show the long furrowed lines of the fields. The scene seems suffused with the moist light of summer; the haze is strongest over the unseen river, obscuring the distant hills and rising to form billowing clouds.

    Despite the omniscient viewpoint and the comprehensive scope he employed—characteristics shared by more traditional landscape painters—Breck embraced a key component of French Impressionism for In the Valley of the Seine. His scene tells no story; it records no place of historic significance, nor does it attempt to imbue the natural with the divine. This lack of narrative, either explicit or implied, is one of the key features of Impressionist painting. There was no desire to tell stories—long the justification for traditional art, which was valued for the moral lessons it could teach. Instead, a simple view of an unremarkable landscape at one particular moment on an ordinary day was held to be an eminently suitable subject for art.

    Breck returned to the United States in 1890, settling in Boston near his family and enjoying the support of local painters and collectors like Lilla Cabot Perry [64.2055], a champion of Monet’s style, who praised Breck’s work and helped to arrange for it to be exhibited. In 1890, a local writer described Breck as one of a group of progressive artists who had “got the blue-green color of Monet’s Impressionism and ‘got it bad.’”[1]Breck’s blue-green In the Valley of the Seine was included in the artist’s first solo exhibition at Boston’s St. Botolph Club in 1890; it was shown again at a Boston gallery in 1893, when a writer for the Boston Evening Transcript described it as a view encompassing “a hint of the village embowered in luxuriant foliage of that worsted-work texture made familiar to us by the work of Monet,”[2]and another local critic dubbed Breck the “head of the American Impressionists.”[3]

    When Breck died of gas poisoning at age thirty-nine in 1899, his mother inherited In the Valley of the Seine. It descended in the Breck family until its purchase by the MFA in 2009.

    Notes
    1. Greta, “Boston Art and Artists,” Art Amateur, October 1887, 93.
    2. Boston Evening Transcript, January 19, 1893.
    3. Boston Daily Globe, January 25, 1893.

    Erica E. Hirshler

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 70.8 x 130.2 cm (27 7/8 x 51 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    2009.338

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  • The Windmill

    Ferdinand Bernhard Hoeppe (German, 1831–1922 German)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 37.5 x 54.8 cm (14 3/4 x 21 9/16 in. )

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    33.322

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    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Simplon Pass: Mountain Brook

    about 1909-11

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 35.7 x 50.9 cm (14 1/16 x 20 1/16 in.)

    Medium

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

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.213

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  • Simplon Pass: Fresh Snow

    about 1909-11

    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 35.4 x 49.2 cm (13 15/16 x 19 3/8 in.)

    Medium

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

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    12.211

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  • Carters with a Load of Slate

    about 1790

    George Morland (English, 1763–1804 English)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    99.4 x 127.6 cm (39 1/8 x 50 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    40.589

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    Europe

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  • Haymaking

    1892

    Julien Dupré (French, 1851–1910 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    81.3 x 64.8 cm (32 x 25 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    31.907

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    Europe

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  • Potato Planters

    about 1861

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

    Description

    In Millet's time, many people considered potatoes unfit food even for animals, but these peasants are planting potatoes for themselves to eat. "Why should the work of a potato planter," wrote Millet, "be less interesting or less noble than any other activity?" Millet gives the harsh reality of their lives beauty and dignity, placing his solidly modelled, harmonious figures before a hazy landscape just beginning to green in the spring sun. The presence of the donkey and the sleeping child under the tree may recall another poor working family, that of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

    Details

    Dimensions

    82.5 x 101.3 cm (32 1/2 x 39 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1505

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    Europe

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  • Return of the Flock

    about 1863–64

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    38.7 x 50.3 cm (15 1/4 x 19 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Black conté crayon and pastel on light brown laid paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    17.1506

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  • In the Vineyard

    1852–53

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    37.5 x 29.6 cm (14 3/4 x 11 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1487

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    Europe

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  • New England Landscape

    about 1887

    John Appleton Brown (American, 1844–1902 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Pastel and graphite on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    15.880

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Gleaner

    1865

    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    15.1

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  • Peasant Watering Her Cow

    about 1863

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    46 x 55.5 cm (18 1/8 x 21 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil over black conté crayon on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1509

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    Europe

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  • Two Men Turning over the Soil

    1866

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    69.9 x 94 cm (27 1/2 x 37 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel and black conté crayon on wove paper, originally cream, aged to dark cream

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    17.1510

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    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Carnival of Autumn

    1908

    Marsden Hartley (American, 1877–1943)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    68.296

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  • View from the Terrace of a Villa at Niton, Isle of Wight, from...

    1826

    Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851)

    Description

    This charming summer scene is based on watercolor sketches done by Lady Julia Gordon, who had been Turner's pupil years before. A view from the steps of her villa, it records the new fashion for "Italian" gardens with terraces and urns. Turner exhibited the painting under the title given here at the Royal Academy in 1826.

    Details

    Dimensions

    45.7 x 61 cm (18 x 24 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.46

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    Europe

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  • Newborn Lamb

    1866

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40.4 x 47.1 cm (15 7/8 x 18 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel and black conté crayon on beige wove paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    17.1513

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  • Shepherdesses Watching a Flight of Wild Geese

    1866

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    57.2 x 41.9 cm (22 1/2 x 16 1/2 in.) design

    Medium

    Pastel and black conté crayon on beige wove paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    17.1512

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  • Noonday Rest

    1866

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    29.2 x 41.9 cm (11 1/2 x 16 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel and black conté crayon on buff wove paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    17.1511

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    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Woods in the Fall

    undated

    Childe Hassam (American, 1859–1935)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    35.6 x 25.4cm (14 x 10in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    65.1300

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • The Buffalo Trail

    about 1867

    Albert Bierstadt (American (born in Germany), 1830–1902)

    Description

    During both his trips to the western United States, in 1859 and 1863, Bierstadt observed and sketched the American buffalo (actually bison) that dominated the rolling grasslands from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. In The Buffalo Trail, made after his second trip in 1863, Bierstadt depicts the seasonal migration of the buffalo between feeding grounds and salt licks.

    At this time, the creatures were beginning to be threatened by extinction from excessive hunting. Hundreds of thousands of hides were being shipped back east by the 1870s, and by 1880 only a few thousand buffalo remained. Bierstadt himself had hunted them on his first trip West, but, as Ludlow writes, on the 1863 venture he focused solely on sketching: “Our artist [Bierstadt], though a good shot . . . had seen enough buffalo-hunting in other expeditions to care little for it now, compared with the artistic opportunities which our battue [hunt] afforded him for portraits of fine old bulls.”[1]In this painting, rather than feature a solitary animal, Bierstadt instead silhouetted a whole herd against bright reflections in the stream, as sunlight breaks through ominous clouds.

    A date of about 1867 has been assigned to The Buffalo Trail, based on the label of a London picture restorer attached to the back of the stretcher; it is believed that the painting was purchased in England, though further evidence of its initial ownership has yet to be discovered. Bierstadt and his wife set sail on a two-year trip to Europe in June 1867, spending time in Great Britain and on the Continent. The canvas could have been executed while Bierstadt was overseas or shortly before his travels, in anticipation of a sale. Bierstadt’s popularity outside the United States was on the rise, especially after his huge 1863 painting The Rocky Mountains, Lander’s Peak (now Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) sold for $25,000 to James McHenry, an English railroad entrepreneur, who exhibited it in London to great acclaim.

    The Buffalo Trail also relates to two oil sketches (both private collection) signed by Bierstadt and dated 1867. In 1869 he executed a second finished painting, Buffalo Trail: The Impending Storm (Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). Similar in size to the MFA’s picture, the Corcoran composition shows the migrating animals struggling against a darker, more agitated sky, with less light reflected on the water. Bierstadt continued to depict buffalo throughout his career, culminating in his well-known 1888 canvas The Last of the Buffalo (also Corcoran Gallery of Art), featuring a bison charging a Native American on horseback.

    Notes
    1. Fitz Hugh Ludlow, The Heart of the Continent (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1870), 62.

    Karen E. Quinn

    Details

    Dimensions

    80.96 x 121.92 cm (31 7/8 x 48 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1268

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  • The Pool, Medfield

    1889

    Dennis Miller Bunker (American, 1861–1890 American)

    Description

    Dennis Miller Bunker was one of the earliest Americans to apply all of the stylistic ingredients of the radical new painting style of Impressionism to his native landscape. Like most artists of his generation, Bunker had been trained as a figure painter [91.130], instructed to value traditional compositions and accurate drawing. After polishing his academic education in Paris, he accepted a teaching position in Boston, where he soon became admired for his sophisticated portraits. Bored with conventional approaches to art, Bunker continued to experiment. In 1887 he met the adventurous painter John Singer Sargent [link to ch. 8], and the two young men, both interested in modern French art, theater, and music, became close friends. They spent the summer of 1888 working together in the English countryside, exploring the bright colors and individual brushstrokes of Impressionism.
    By the time Bunker returned to Boston, he had fully mastered the new style. Like his French contemporary Claude Monet [25.106]—whose paintings were rapidly entering Boston collections—Bunker preferred anonymous landscapes to well-known sites. He spent the summer of 1889 in Medfield, Massachusetts, painting a series of images of the lush marshy fields near the source of the Charles River. In The Pool, Medfield, Bunker placed the horizon line high on his canvas, a device that serves to flatten the composition, emphasizing its two-dimensional design. Upon this surface, he crafted a dense network of long unblended strokes of color that echo the shapes of the reeds and grasses and the flow of the clear blue water. Bunker’s Pool is a dazzling view of a sun-filled meadow, but it is equally an exploration of the physical act of painting.

    While some conservative critics greeted Bunker’s Impressionism with disdain, his innovative combination of American subjects with French techniques soon became the leading style in American art. Bunker did not live to enjoy its success; he died just a year after making this painting, two months after his twenty-ninth birthday.

    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

    46.99 x 61.59 cm (18 1/2 x 24 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    45.475

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  • Cypresses of the Villa d'Este, Tivoli

    about 1885

    Ettore Roesler Franz (Italian, 1845–1907 Italian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 79.5 x 56.5 cm (31 5/16 x 22 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    86.1

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  • Salt Marshes, Newburyport, Massachusetts

    about 1866–76

    Artist Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819–1904)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1152

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  • Cloudy Day, Rhode Island

    1861

    Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819–1904)

    Description

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

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1158

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  • Storm in the Mountains

    about 1870

    Albert Bierstadt (American (born in Germany), 1830–1902)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    96.52 x 152.72 cm (38 x 60 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1257

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  • Sunset on Long Beach

    about 1867

    Artist Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819–1904)

    Description

    In an oeuvre of 650 known oils, Heade painted more than 150 salt-marsh landscapes. No two are identical. The earliest feature the area near Newburyport, Massachusetts, located north of Boston; further south and closer to the city, he worked in Lynn and Marshfield, as well as along the Connecticut, Long Island, and New Jersey shores. Heade continued to paint marsh subjects after he moved to Florida in 1883. His last two dated works are a northern and a southern marsh executed the year of his death, 1904 (locationsof both unknown). It can be difficult to determine the exact location of his landscapes, since Heade was less interested in the specificity of topography than in capturing the effects of changing light and weather. Sunset on Long Beach belongs to a group of marshes Heade executed between the mid-1860s and mid-1870s, a prolific period of work that resulted in some of his classic wetland scenes, including Salt Marshes, Newburyport, Massachusetts[47.1152]. This sunset is dated to around 1867 because of its similarity to another composition, Ipswich Marshes (New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut), that Heade signed and dated that year.

    Sunset on Long Beach came into the MFA’s collection with this title. It may be a view across the wetlands of southern Long Island, New York, toward the Atlantic Ocean (which is visible at the left dotted with sailboats) near the present city of Long Beach. In this scene, the landscape is bathed in the glowing pinks of the setting sun. Heade achieved this luminosity by carefully building up his colors with delicate, thin glazes (pigments diluted with oil). These are especially evident in the cigar-shaped clouds and the sun itself, where pink and lavender tones are applied over a thicker white. Heade’s individual brushstrokes are imperceptible in the faint clouds visible in the background over the horizon—a masterful suggestion of atmosphere. In the foreground, he tinged the grasses with flecks of orange and pink, contrasting them with the lush greens. He used long strokes of green and orange, partially blended together, to create the recession of the marsh into the distance. Small haystacks, unlike the larger specimens Heade featured in other compositions [47.1152], help to emphasize the vast expanse of the landscape. Fair-weather cumulus lenticularis clouds reinforce the horizontal nature of this painting, and Heade further emphasized the breadth of the marsh by the shape of the canvas he selected—it is more than twice as wide as it is high. A masterpiece of the subtle effects of light and color, this is one of Heade’s most serene and evocative works.

    Karen E. Quinn

    Details

    Dimensions

    25.72 x 55.88 cm (10 1/8 x 22 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1159

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  • Harvesters Resting (Ruth and Boaz)

    1850–53

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    67.3 x 119.7 cm (26 1/2 x 47 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    06.2421

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  • Buckwheat Harvest

    1868–70

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    75.9 x 97.8 cm (29 7/8 x 38 1/2 in.) 74 x 95.8 cm (29 1/8 x 37 3/4 in.) design

    Medium

    Pastel and black conté crayon on light brown wove paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    06.2425

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  • Morning Sunlight

    about 1895

    Charles Harold Davis (American, 1856–1933 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    11.1278

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  • Meadow with Poplars

    about 1875

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    54.6 x 65.4 cm (21 1/2 x 25 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.505

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  • Willows by a Stream

    1908

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    65.4 x 81.3 cm (25 3/4 x 32 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    24.216

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  • A Buckwheat Field on Thomas Cole's Farm

    1863

    Thomas Charles Farrer (English, 1839–1891 (active in the United...

    Description

    "A Buckwheat Field on Thomas Cole's Farm" is at once a beautiful panorama of the Hudson River, a painting that pays homage to Cole, the father of American landscape painting, and a prime example of the style promoted by the short-lived American Pre-Raphaelite movement. The London-born Farrer had studied under British critic and artist John Ruskin and absorbed his scrupulous realism, his meticulous attention to detail and finish, and his championing of humble details from nature as suitable subjects for high art. When he arrived in the United States in the late 1850s, Farrer helped to found the American Pre-Raphaelite movement, which was based on Ruskin's teachings and the ideas of the English Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (founded in 1848). The Brotherhood rejected academicism and turned to nature for inspiration; their canvases, influence by Ruskin's insistence on "truth to nature," were often painted "en plein air"and with bright colors.

    In 1863, Farrer spent the summer in Catskill, New York with fellow Pre-Raphaelite artist Charles Herbert Moore ["North Conway, New Hampshire," 56.373]. Among Farrer's earliest finished landscapes was "A Buckwheat Field on Thomas Cole's Farm," in which he captured the view from a field in Catskill, on the west bank of the Hudson River, looking northeast toward Hudson, New York on the opposite shore (near the present-day Rip Van Winkle Bridge). He noted his progress in landscape painting in a letter to the editor of the "New York Daily Tribune" in 1867: "ten years ago I could not paint or draw a single tree, bird, stone or flower accurately, and had not even made an attempt to paint from nature. Late in the season of 1859 I made my first effort to paint out of doors. Even as late as the Summer of 1862 (only five years ago) I had made but one finished oil study from nature…"(quoted in May Brawley Hill's entry in Linda S. Ferber and William H. Gerdts, "The New Path: Ruskin and the American Pre-Raphaelites," Brooklyn, N. Y.: Brooklyn Museum, 1985, p. 163). By 1863, Farrer had honed his skills sufficiently to undertake the painting of "A Buckwheat Field on Thomas Cole's Farm."

    Farrer chose his scene with care; the field in the foreground was formerly part of Thomas Cole's farm. Cole, a fellow Englishman, had arrived in America in 1818, and had settled in Catskill in 1836. He was the founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painting, and many of his followers also settled in the Hudson River Valley. In 1860, for example, Frederic Church, one of Cole's students, had purchased land in Hudson on which he was to build his remarkable villa "Olana". The site was just to the south of Farrer's scene, where the village of Hudson is visible in the very center.

    While Cole portrayed the American landscape in a variety of ways from topographical views ["River in the Catskills," 47.1201] to imaginative landscapes imbued with philosophical, moral, or religious meaning ["Expulsion from the Garden of Eden," 47.1188], Farrer's work emphasized the topographical. Farrer chose a long canvas - the length is more than twice the height - to emphasize the breadth of his view, which celebrates, as Cole had done, the distinctive American scenery. His style, however, was different from Cole's. Farrer favored tiny, precise brushwork to render the details of his landscapes, whereas Cole used more liquid brush strokes and concentrated on the larger masses. "A Buckwheat Field on Thomas Cole's Farm" is striking for the meticulous detail and crystal-clear features of the scene, the play of light on the waters of the Hudson, and the use of lavender and blue in the foreground shadows. Charles Herbert Moore rendered the same scene from a vantage point on the bank of the river in a similar precise style ("Hudson River, Above Catskill," 1865, Amon Carter Museum).

    Farrer exhibited "A Buckwheat Field on Thomas Cole's Farm" together with "The Catskills, from the Village" (location unknown) at the National Academy of Design in 1864, to mixed reviews. The critic for "The Continental Monthly" observed in Farrer's paintings "a painful stiffness", and "the absence of one of the most prominent elements of beauty and interest… namely, mystery." The critic concluded that, "In these pictures of Mr. Farrer we fail to find any trace of atmosphere, and hence they strike us as bald, hard, cold, and unnatural." ("An Hour in the Gallery of the National Academy of Design," The Continental Monthly, vol. 5, June, 1864, p. 688). Clarence Cook, who was an admirer of Ruskin and an advocate for Pre-Raphaelite movement in America, wrote in "New York Daily Tribune" on May 21, 1864, "These two pictures are made forever precious and valuable by the faithful record of the truth of Nature that is in every square inch of them." But even as sympathetic critic as Cook declared that, "there is scarcely anything in them which rises to the rank of art; and that, while there is abundant reason for the interest they excite, and large promise for the future in them, yet there is also very good cause for the dislike which many persons have for them" (quoted in Ferber and Gerdts, p. 163). The writer for "The New Path," the journal for the Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art which Farrer helped to found in 1863, was the only reviewer who was wholly positive about Farrer's landscapes. The critic described "the broad blue lake-like expanse of the Hudson, veined as it were with cloudy white, where the summer wind goes by, and dotted with snowy sails…" and found the purple shadows cast by the cedar trees, "so lovely a chord of color it is not often our good fortune to see..." concluding that "all of this beauty comes of following Nature" (quoted in Ferber and Gerdts, p. 163).

    Farrer was probably not surprised by the critical reception his paintings received. As one of the leaders of the American Pre-Raphaelite movement and as its main link to Ruskin, he had championed the new principles of truth to nature, meticulously detailed naturalism, and completion of work out-of-doors. He had defended these artistic principles in an article entitled "A Few Questions Answered" in "The New Path" in June 1863. However, the labor intensiveness of the Pre-Raphaelite style contained the seeds of its demise. The rewards for the artists' painstaking work were meager. And beyond a small circle, the public did not respond positively to the Pre-Raphaelite paintings. By 1865, "The New Path" had ceased publication. While Ruskinian ideas continued to flourish at Harvard University (see Theodore Stebbins, et al, "The Last Ruskinians: Charles Eliot Norton, Charles Herbert Moore, and Their Circle," Cambridge: Harvard University Art Museums, 2007), the American Pre-Raphaelite movement in New York waned. Farrer eventually returned to England in 1872. Although the flowering of the movement was brief and the body of work produced by its members relatively small, many exquisite paintings, including "A Buckwheat Field on Thomas Cole's Farm," were produced.

    Janet Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    29.84 x 64.13 cm (11 3/4 x 25 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    62.265

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    Americas, Europe

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  • The Seine at Chatou

    1881

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description

    Renoir renders this radiant landscape of the Seine just west of Paris with carefully differentiated brushwork, from the long, feathery strokes of the waving grasses to small, thick touches for the flowering trees. Renoir wrote to a friend at the time of the painting, "I'm struggling with trees in flower, with women and children, and I don't want to look at anything else."

    Details

    Dimensions

    73.3 x 92.4 cm (28 7/8 x 36 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.771

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    Europe

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  • Cottage in the Dunes

    Jean Charles Cazin (French, 1841–1901)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    46 x 55.5 cm (18 1/8 x 21 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    15.882

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    Europe

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  • Road at La Cavée, Pourville

    1882

    Description

    Monet had begun to experiment with X-shaped compositions as early as 1863-64. Here, almost twenty years later, he has refined the schema and simultaneously clothed it in an active surface pattern of indescribable subtlety. Despite the uncertain continuance of the path, this is a welcoming, pleasant place. The path nestles between two soft mounds. In the Western tradition, landforms are often discussed in sensuous terms in relation to the human body. By this date Monet's paintings only rarely included the human figure. If one were present here, the scene would take on an anecdotal air, and the force of the geometry and suggestiveness of the landscape would be diminished. Without a figure, this painting invites, seduces, comforts, and promises, on an optical as well as an animal level, the component parts of which are impossible to disentangle.

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.3 x 81.6 cm (23 3/4 x 32 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    24.1755

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    Europe

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  • Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny

    1885

    Description

    Monet and his fellow Impressionists believed that art should express its own time and place and that it should do so in an appropriately modern style. In the 1860s and 1870s, working primarily outdoors, the Impressionists observed that objects seen in strong light lose definition and appear to blend into one another. No clear outlines exist in this sunny landscape. Its forms and textures are suggested by the size, shape, and direction of the brushstrokes, and the juxtaposition of complementary reds and greens gives the painting a vibrant intensity. By the mid-1880s, most members of the original group had turned away from Impressionism, but Monet declared: “I am still an Impressionist and will always remain one.”

    Details

    Dimensions

    65.1 x 81.3 cm (25 5/8 x 32 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.106

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    Europe

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  • Grainstack (Sunset)

    1891

    Description

    In 1890 and 1891, Monet painted a group of pictures of the stacks of wheat (referred to as grainstacks or haystacks) in the fields near his home, exhibiting them as a series to great critical acclaim in 1891. Traditionally, the motifs in Monet's series paintings have been seen merely as vehicles through which he could explore the interaction of light, color, and form over the course of the day and in different weather conditions. But scholars have recently proposed that Monet was equally interested in the meaning and significance of the motifs themselves. Grainstacks, for example, are traditional symbols of the land's fertility, the local farmers' material wealth, and the region's prosperity.

    Details

    Dimensions

    73.3 x 92.7 cm (28 7/8 x 36 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.112

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    Europe

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  • Cap Martin, near Menton

    1884

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    67.2 x 81.6 cm (26 7/16 x 32 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.128

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    Europe

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  • At the Races in the Countryside

    1869

    Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)

    Description

    This painting was one of the first works that Degas sold (in 1872) to Paul Durand-Ruel, the dealer who became the early champion of the Impressionists. It is not only a landscape but also a scene from everyday life and - most of all - a family portrait. The driver of the carriage is Degas's friend Paul Valpinçon, who is shown with his wife, a wet nurse, and in the nurse's lap, the couple's son, Henri.
    With its subtly ironic title - the races play a minor role in the composition - the painting was among the artist's contributions to the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.

    Details

    Dimensions

    36.5 x 55.9 cm (14 3/8 x 22 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    26.790

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    Europe

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  • Meadow at Giverny

    1886

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description

    "Meadow at Giverny" does not have an obvious focal point: no figure, structure, or natural feature attracts the viewer's attention. The high-keyed palette and, especially, the insistence on pattern further contribute to our sense of it as a decorative painting, in the best sense of the term - as a work concerned, above all, with the very qualities of color and pattern. It is also a painting of loneliness. The only element that breaks from the pattern of horizontals is the tree in the background that frees itself from its neighbors. Were the tree a human figure, it could be described as displaying itself against the sky in a gesture of defiance or triumph. A tree is not a human being, of course, yet the temptation to read the one for the other is strong. This tree is isolated, mirroring the position of the viewer looking at this deserted, if colorful, meadow.

    Details

    Dimensions

    92.1 x 81.6 cm (36 1/4 x 32 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    39.670

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Rocky Crags at L'Estaque

    1882

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description

    Most of Renoir's landscape paintings were done in the countryside surrounding Paris. This view of a cliff at l'Estaque, near the Mediterranean port of Marseilles, was painted when Renoir was visiting his friend Paul Cézanne, who painted several views of the same site.

    Details

    Dimensions

    66.4 x 81.0 cm (26 1/8 x 31 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    39.678

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    Europe

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  • Women and a White Horse

    1903

    Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    73.3 x 91.7 cm (28 7/8 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.547

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    Europe

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  • Bridge in the Mountains

    1898

    Jean Baptiste Armand Guillaumin (French, 1841–1927)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    65.4 x 81.9 cm (25 3/4 x 32 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.560

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    Europe

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  • Landscape on the Coast, near Menton

    1883

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.596

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Ravine

    1889

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

    Description

    In June 1889, shortly after his arrival at an asylum in the southern French town of Saint-Rémy, van Gogh painted a riotous study of a flowering hillside. He sent a pen-and-ink copy of the painting to his brother in early July. Months later, in October, the artist found himself without fresh canvas on which to paint and decided to sacrifice the study of wild vegetation to paint this view of the mountainous ravine near the asylum. Recent collaborative research by conservators and curators has revealed the presence of the lost painting beneath the Boston canvas. For more on this discovery, see: http://www.mfa.org/dynamic/sub/ctr_link_url_5023.pdf.

    Details

    Dimensions

    73 x 91.7 cm (28 3/4 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    52.1524

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Grainstack (Snow Effect)

    1891

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description

    In 1890 and 1891, Monet painted a group of pictures of the stacks of wheat (referred to as grainstacks or haystacks) in the fields near his home, exhibiting them as a series to great critical acclaim in 1891. Traditionally, the motifs in Monet's series paintings have been seen merely as vehicles through which he could explore the interaction of light, color, and form over the course of the day and in different weather conditions. But scholars have recently proposed that Monet was equally interested in the meaning and significance of the motifs themselves. Grainstacks, for example, are traditional symbols of the land's fertility, the local farmers' material wealth, and the region's prosperity.

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1970.253

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Woodgatherers at the Edge of the Forest

    about 1863

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    59.7 x 90.2 cm (23 1/2 x 35 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1974.325

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    Europe

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  • Landscape with Two Breton Women

    1889

    Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    72.4 x 91.4 cm (28 1/2 x 36 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1976.42

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Landscape With Figure Near Pond and Cottages

    Léon Richet (French, 1847–1907 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40 x 64.8 cm (15 3/4 x 25 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1986.573

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    Europe

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  • Enclosed Field with Ploughman

    October 1889

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    54.0 x 65.4 cm (21 1/4 x 25 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.37

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    Europe

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  • Resting — Montigny-sur-Loing

    1888

    Ernest Lee Major (American, 1864–1950 American)

    Description

    In 1885 Major began his three years of study in Europe by enrolling at the Académie Julian in Paris, and the acceptance of his work at the Salon each year from 1886 to 1889 confirmed his early success. It is clear from "Resting-Montigny-sur-Loing" that Major also became aware of the avant-garde developments in Paris, especially the peasant pictures of Pissarro.
    Rural and peasant motifs had become increasingly popular in both France and America in the 1870s and 1880s. Paintings by Millet and Jules Breton were especially sought after in American galleries and auction houses. Like Pissarro, Major adopted those rural themes, rendering his workers with a more modern Impressionist vocabulary. Major portrayed his farm women in Montigny-sur-Loing, a village southeast of Paris on the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau, between Moret, where Sisley was working, and Grèz, an important artists' colony. In his idealized vision of rustic life, Major surrounded the women resting on farm implements with a halo of light, which makes them stand out from the background of rambling stone farm buildings. Integrating his academic training in figure painting and traditional composition with Impressionist techniques, Major ably captured the effect of sunlight on this pastoral scene, using broken brushwork and a light palette.

    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

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.901

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Racehorses at Longchamp

    1871, possibly reworked in 1874

    Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    34.0 x 41.9 cm (13 3/8 x 16 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    03.1034

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    Europe

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  • Flower Beds at Vétheuil

    1881

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Unframed: 92.1 x 73.3 cm (36 1/4 x 28 7/8 in.) Framed: 93 cm (36 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.1313

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    Europe

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  • Seacoast at Trouville

    1881

    Description

    A single tree, deformed by the constant buffeting of onshore winds, is the central motif of this painting by Monet. Because the horizon line is effaced in a haze of creamy blue strokes, there is no sense of recession into the distance. Such an abstract field behind the tree deprives it of volume, so that it reads as a flat pattern on the surface. This pattern is so dominant that its outline determines the shapes of other forms in the painting. Not only do the low blue bushes that extend from one edge of the canvas to the other echo the general form of the tree's foliage, but the very ground answers the bending motion in low hillocks parallel or related to the tree's angle. Although the tree's form is dominant and determines so many other shapes in the painting, the tree in itself is almost ephemeral, for it is barely rooted in the soil. The painting is thus an exercise in pattern making rather than a naturalistic description of a place.

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.7 x 81.3 cm (23 7/8 x 32 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.1314

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    Europe

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  • Cottages in the Snow

    1891

    Johan Frederik Thaulow (Norwegian, 1847–1906 Norwegian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    50.2 x 61 cm (19 3/4 x 24 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel on canvas

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    23.523

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Valley of the Petite Creuse

    1889

    Description

    The striking effects of Monet's several paintings of the Creuse Valley in central France are achieved through complex, superimposed layers of color, as he combined bold brushstrokes with intricate passages made up of many small touches. Delayed by bad weather while painting his Creuse scenes, Monet hired workmen to strip the newly budded leaves from a tree in the valley so that he would not have to change his composition.

    Details

    Dimensions

    65.4 x 81.3 cm (25 3/4 x 32 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    23.541

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    Europe

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  • Valley of the Creuse (Sunlight Effect)

    1889

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    65.1 x 92.4 cm (25 5/8 x 36 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    25.107

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    Europe

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  • Long Branch, New Jersey

    1869

    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    40.64 x 55.24 cm (16 x 21 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    41.631

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Meadow with Haystacks near Giverny

    1885

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description

    In this painting of primarily blue, green, and violet hues, the eye is drawn to the lighter and brighter streaks of yellow. These represent sunlight that has broken through the trees on the right, trees that glow from within with captured light. Color and light had always been Monet's primary interests; at Giverny in the mid-1880s, he began to give himself up entirely to their exploration.

    Details

    Dimensions

    74.0 x 93.5 cm (29 1/8 x 36 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    42.541

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    Europe

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  • The Pond

    about 1877–79

    Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906)

    Description

    In the early 1870s, Cézanne was living in Auvers, a small town outside Paris, and learning to work directly from nature. The Pond is painted in small, parallel strokes of blues and greens, an early version of the distinctive brushwork that plays a key role in the construction of Cézanne's mature paintings. Here, figures are placed boldly against the landscape. Cézanne would more fully integrate figure and landscape in his many later paintings of bathers.

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.244

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    Europe

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  • The Water Lily Pond

    1900

    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description

    In 1883, Monet settled in the village of Giverny, about forty miles from Paris, and purchased a house there in 1890. Shortly thereafter, he acquired an additional plot of land, where he constructed a picturesque water garden. A Japanese bridge spanned the pond at its narrowest point. This is among the first of Monet's paintings to emphasize the reflections of the bank and the sky on the flat surface of the water.

    Details

    Dimensions

    90.2 x 92.7 cm (35 1/2 x 36 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    61.959

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    Europe

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  • Skiers at the Top of a Snow-covered Hill

    1894

    Johan Frederik Thaulow (Norwegian, 1847–1906 Norwegian)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    52.7 x 98.4 cm (20 3/4 x 38 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1978.681

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    Europe

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  • Summer

    about 1860–70

    Gustave Doré (French, 1832–1883)

    Description

    Doré, best known for illustrations of the Bible and Dante's Divine Comedy, painted many landscapes of Switzerland, Scotland, and France, but this work is unique. A slice of nature from a bug's-eye view, it seems to be an allegory of rejuvenation and the transience of life. Hollyhocks, morning-glories, dandelions, daisies, thistles, and other weeds battle for survival, and butterflies and dragonflies feed on them. The scythe, a traditional symbol of death, lies rusting in the foreground, and in contrast to the luxuriance of nature, a ruined building is moldering in the background.

    Details

    Dimensions

    266.4 x 200.1 cm (104 7/8 x 78 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    73.8

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    Europe

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  • Landscape near Dieppe

    Constant Troyon (French, 1810–1865 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    52.4 x 81.9 cm (20 5/8 x 32 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    84.275

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    Europe

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  • Sheep and Shepherd in a Landscape

    about 1854

    Constant Troyon (French, 1810–1865 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    34.9 x 45.1 cm (13 3/4 x 17 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    84.276

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    Europe

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  • Landscape with a Peasant Watering her Cows

    Théodore Rousseau (French, 1812–1867)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    26.4 x 38.1 cm (10 3/8 x 15 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    84.277

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Forest of Fontainebleau

    1846

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

    Description

    Corot based this painting on sketches made in the Forest of Fontainebleau, just south of Paris, where he had worked since the 1820s. The artist reworked his sketches into a carefully structured composition, with the horizontals of foreground and background balanced by the verticals of trees, and the cows positioned to mark recession into space. Nevertheless, the acceptance of this work for the Salon of 1846 was a landmark event in the history of French landscape painting, for it depicts an ordinary, easily recognized local site without the "justification" of a noble human subject.

    Details

    Dimensions

    90.2 x 128.8 cm (35 1/2 x 50 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    90.199

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    Europe

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  • Wooded Stream

    1859

    Théodore Rousseau (French, 1812–1867)

    Description

    Rousseau was the central figure of the so- called Barbizon School of painters, named for a village on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, near Paris, where these artists often worked. United by a love for their native landscape, they determined to paint the world around them as they observed it, instead of restructuring it according to the idealizing conventions established by centuries of tradition. In their commitment to direct visual response to nature and their interest in the effects of changing seasons and times of day, the Barbizon artists were important precursors of the Impressionists.

    Details

    Dimensions

    53.3 x 74.6 cm (21 x 29 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1461

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    Europe

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  • End of the Hamlet of Gruchy

    1866

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

    Description

    Representing the hamlet in Normandy where Millet grew up, the son of prosperous peasants, this painting contributed to the artist's image as a "peasant painter." He presented it as a distillation of his youth, writing to his agent, "Oh you spaces that made me dream so much in my childhood, will I ever be able to give a hint of what you are like?" The landscape was based on memory and on studies done some ten years before.

    Details

    Dimensions

    81.6 x 100.6 cm (32 1/8 x 39 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1508

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Path through the Wheat

    about 1867

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

    Description

    Millet's biographer Alfred Sensier quoted him as saying, "If I could do what I wanted, or at least attempt it, I would do nothing that was not the result of an impression received from nature, be it in landscapes or figures." In many works, impressions from nature were combined with inspiration from other artistic sources. A sixteenth-century engraving of Summer provided the basis for elements of this very fine pastel.

    Details

    Dimensions

    40 x 50.8 cm (15 3/4 x 20 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel and black conté crayon on gray wove paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    17.1521

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Little Goose Girl

    1868

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    41.9 x 52.1 cm (16 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel and black conté crayon on green wove paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    17.1527

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Landscape with Sheep and Old Well

    about 1857

    Elihu Vedder (American, 1836–1923 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    38.1 x 72.71 cm (15 x 28 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    74.15

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Morning on the Seine, near Giverny

    1897

    Description

    Monet traveled as far north as Norway and as far south as Venice to look for different motifs, but he always returned to the places he knew best. He painted the river Seine in Paris, Argenteuil, Vétheuil, and where it emptied into the English Channel. He turned to it again in 1896 and 1897 for his series of canvases showing how it looked at dawn. This version is notable for its softness. Its colors of pinkish mauve, cool blues, and greens are matched with large, simple, and rounded shapes. With the point of view suspended over the water, we are made to feel weightless, perhaps even bodiless. Almost symmetrical reflections threaten to disorient us, but Monet has left enough clues to let us know which way is up.

    Details

    Dimensions

    81.3 x 92.7 cm (32 x 36 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    11.1261

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Pool in the Forest

    early 1850s

    Théodore Rousseau (French, 1812–1867)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 39.4 x 57.4cm (15 1/2 x 22 5/8in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.3241

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Spring Hillside

    1899–1902

    John Joseph Enneking (American, 1841–1916)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    62.55 x 87.63 cm (24 5/8 x 34 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    13.474

    Collections

    Americas

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  • La Blanchisseuse

    1890

    Frederic Porter Vinton (American, 1846–1911 American)

    Description

    In June 1889, Vinton and his wife traveled to Europe for eighteen months, spending part of their sojourn in Grez-sur-Loing, a village on the southeastern edge of the forest of Fontainebleau, about two hours by train from Paris. Artists had been drawn to this rural village by the picturesque Loing River, stone bridge, and medieval church, and an international art colony arose there after 1875.
    During this trip to France, Vinton visited the French Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley in nearby Moret, and the two artists walked along the Loing River [1993.44], which Sisley had so often portrayed. Further down that same river, Vinton executed this plein air painting of a woman washing clothes. Images of laundresses are abundant; they were popular especially with such French artists as Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard in the eighteenth century and Edgar Degas in the nineteenth century. Although washerwomen were sometimes represented as seductresses, Vinton’s hard-working blanchisseuse, with her tub and the wooden box in which she kneels to keep her own clothes dry, provided an interesting subject for his new-found skill in Impressionist effects. With fluid brushstrokes, Vinton rendered the foliage of the trees and the reflections in the river. Dazzling daubs of white paint indicate white laundry and the sun dappling the river’s edge. Vinton seems to have painted La Blanchisseuse for his own pleasure; it remained with him and was never exhibited until his death.

    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

    46.35 x 60.96 cm (18 1/4 x 24 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    13.554

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    Americas

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  • River in the Catskills

    1843

    Thomas Cole (American (born in England), 1801–1848)

    Description

    At first glance, Thomas Cole’s River in the Catskills may seem like a typical nineteenth-century landscape, but it is in fact unusual among American landscapes of its time. Inspired by British notions of the picturesque found in natural scenery and Cole’s own writings on landscape, River in the Catskills presents an idyllic pastoral world removed from the realities of modern industrialization and urbanization. But one small detail, found upon close inspection of the background, sets it apart: a steam locomotive, an unequivocal symbol of industrial development. This work is considered to be the earliest known American oil painting to depict a train.
    Cole’s decision to incorporate a train into his natural landscape may refer to the artist’s well-known writings about the destructive impact of industry on nature, particularly his 1836 “Essay on American Scenery.”[1]His ambivalent attitude was shared by many of his contemporaries, who witnessed their world being dramatically transformed, in both positive and negative ways, during the Industrial Revolution. In general, nineteenth-century Americans used the term improvement to refer to modernization, and understood industrialization as necessary to progress, but anxieties lay beneath. Improvement solved certain social ills, like socioeconomic disparity, but created others, like the disease pandemics of newly crowded urban cities. Industrialization also came at the expense of the natural landscape. In his essay, Cole described the process of creating an agrarian landscape out of the American wilderness as the “ravages of the axe.”[2]Thus, while River in the Catskills embraces certain pastoral landscape conventions by depicting a pasture, livestock, and lush greenery, it also subverts this tradition with its image of the train, a sign of improvement, or modernization. Such an observation has led art historian Alan Wallach to describe this painting as an “antipastoral.” [3]

    As an uncommissioned work, River in the Catskills stands out among Cole’s several other painted versions of the natural scenery of the Catskills. The artist had moved to the town of Catskill in 1836 with his new wife, Maria Bartow. Over the years he had witnessed the town, also a major shipping port, grow and then decline, with an ultimately unfinished railroad development project that was in process for over ten years. In addition to squandering large sums of money and causing local conflict, the advent of the railroad worried local residents who treasured their familiar natural scenery. It was in this atmosphere that Cole began painting, and thus perhaps preserving, the landscape that surrounded him. Yet River in the Catskills diverges from Cole’s other renditions in its exploration of the tensions between nature and industry. Unlike other versions of the scene, this composition limits the lush greenery and includes the train, along with other markers of encroaching civilization: a collection of houses—probably a town—also appears; steam or smoke rises from the horizon, possibly indicating the presence of another train or a factory. In the foreground stands the scene’s main figure, a man in an eye-catching red coat, holding an axe, amidst a clearing of fallen trees. The attention drawn to the figure raises the question of man’s relationship to nature. Does the path to civilization and its improvements come only at the expense of clearing away the untouched American landscape?

    Notes
    1. Thomas Cole, “Essay on American Scenery,” The American Monthly Magazine, January 1836, 1–12.
    2. Ibid., 12.
    3. Alan Wallach, “Thomas Cole’s ‘River in the Catskills’ as Antipastoral,” Art Bulletin 84, no. 2 (June 2002): 334–50.

    Rachel Tolano

    Details

    Dimensions

    69.85 x 102.55 cm (27 1/2 x 40 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1201

    Collections

    Americas

    Not On View
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