19th-Century Art

Works of art featured on Level 2 evoke ways in which 19th-century American culture and art were shaped by the growth and development of the nation and its expanded role in an international context. A central gallery displays the masterful works of expatriate artist John Singer Sargent. A large gallery hung in the period style of a Salon highlights American painters and sculptors who traveled to Europe, absorbing the Old Masters, European sites and monuments, and the lessons of then contemporary art. A gallery for work by Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins explores their distinct interpretations of the American scene, while noting the impact of the Civil War on these artists and the nation. Another gallery is dedicated to paintings by American Impressionists, among them Mary Cassatt. Galleries devoted to 19th-century folk art, the Boston School, the American Renaissance, the Aesthetic Movement, and the Arts and Crafts Movement are richly installed with furniture, paintings, works on paper, ceramics, sculpture, metalwork, and objects in many other media that reveal the diverse artistic modes of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including the Gothic and rococo revival styles. Two period rooms on this level are from the Roswell Gleason House, built about 1840 in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Installed at the MFA for the first time, the Gleason parlor and dining room suggest the furnishing patterns and style of life characteristic of a successful entrepreneur in the mid-19th century.

Explore the galleries on Level 2