The Boston School Legacy:
a powerful approach to realist art
lives on at The Mass Academy of Fine Art.
Massachusetts is home to The Boston School movement, classified as American Impressionism with a realistic approach to figure painting and special attention to the portrayal of light. Major influences include John Singer Sargent, Monet and Vermeer. By about 1900, art in Boston had taken on a distinct character. Under the leadership of such influential teachers as painters Edmund Tarbell, Frank Benson, and Joseph DeCamp and sculptors Bela Pratt and Cyrus Dallin, Boston artists admired beauty, elegance, and technical refinement. They favored portraits, impeccably arranged still lifes, and figure studies of women in tasteful interiors or sun-filled landscapes.
"The overriding purpose of all impressionists, is to give pictorial form to their own reactons before the spectacle proferred by nature. They are so deeply stirred by the spendor of what they see that they accept it as the paragon of attainable beauty whose inerpretation constitutes the painter's supreme task..." From The Boston Painter, 1900-1930 R.H. Ives Gammell
The Boston School is closely associated with teachers and students of the Museum School of Fine Arts from the 1900s- 1930's. Many of the teachers studied at the Julian Academie , an alternative school to the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris, which welcomed women into its classes. These artists returned to Boston and shared their expertise with students there while creating drawings, paintings and sculpture in Boston and Massachusetts that capture the truth and light of their subjects and time.
Key figures in this movement were Edmund C. Tarbell, Frank Weston Benson and William McGregor Paxton. Other painters associated with the Boston School include Joseph DeCamp, Philip Leslie Hale, Lilian Westcott Hale, John Joseph Enneking, Gretchen Woodman Rogers, Aldro Hibbard, Frederic Porter Vinton, Lilla Cabot Perry, Elizabeth Okie Paxton, Hermann Dudley Murphy, W. Lester Stevens, and others. Tarbell's teacher at the museum school, Emil Otto Grundmann, is sometimes included in this group.
Frank W. Benson
Margaret ("Gretchen") Strong
The Breakfast Room
In the artist's studio
Painting by William McGregor Paxton
Woman in a Fur Hat
Describe your image
Park Street, Boston