|It has been 21 years since Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts exhibited its groundbreaking exhibition, The Bostonians: Painters of an Elegant Age, which examined both well-known and forgotten Boston School artists from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. This exhibition established the dialogue and main characters in the discussion of a Boston tradition in American art, a dialogue which has continued and a cast list which has expanded. In these two decades since, a new generation of collectors has developed, and the market for many works by Boston painters and sculptors has skyrocketed. With our The Bostonians, we bring together some of the major and minor figures of the MFA’s exhibition—including John Singer Sargent, the darling of the Bostonian tradition for over thirty years--for this new generation and all that came before to discover the tradition of Fine Art in Boston.|
The selections below feature works by several represented artists working in traditions significant to the Bostonians. Arthur Clifton Goodwin’s strong-handed, impressionistic views of Boston are found in collections at the Museum of Fine Art and beyond; also on view is a Goodwin pastel, of Park Street Church. Ignaz Marcel Gaugengigl’s Portrait of Ezra H. Baker and Leslie Prince Thompson’s Daydreams reflect the importance of portraiture for Boston Fine Art, a tradition long associated with the Brahmin sensibility of taste and succession. Gaugengigl’s portrait and Charles Woodbury’s Dutch Fair also reveal the influence of Dutch academic art, with the simple palette of browns and blacks and Gaugengigl’s rigorous attention to realism in his portrait. Woodbury also portrays a fundamental part of the Boston tradition: travel to Europe, and beyond. William Partridge Burpee, John Singer Sargent, Gertrude Beals Bourne, Woodbury, and many more artists featured in this exhibition received great instruction and inspiration from their voyages across the Atlantic. And Laura Coombs Hills, a great master of the pastel medium, represents the importance of still-life and academic painting, as well as the strong tradition of Women Artists that has persisted in the Boston tradition, from the first students of William Morris Hunt through more recent Museum School graduates such as Anne Lyman Powers.
We invite you to view the exhibition online and in the gallery, and welcome any questions you may have.