Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Art of Americas Wing, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (new exhibit)

The Art of the Americas Wing just opened at the MFA at the end of last year. Housed on 4 levels in thematic rooms, the extensive collection reaches back to Ancient American through Colonial up to 1970’s modern art. 

The paintings are hung with antique furniture, lamps, imported tiles, stained glass and silverware. Even the wallpaper matches the period. There’s a sense of walking back in time that brings the old art to life.

My 13-year-old daughter enjoyed the exhibit as I did. There were plenty of (non-exhibit) benches to sit upon and soak up the atmosphere or write stories, as she did, inspired by art. We especially loved the Sargents, and how the giant urns featured in a painting of an American expat family in Paris were displayed on either side of the painting (below).

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit by John Singer Sargent, oil on canvas, 1882, MFA website.

The new wing's architecture (below) was really good too, but be careful not to miss the side galleries off the main column or the native/colonial displays in the basement. I liked how the gallery was historically stacked from oldest up to newest. The addition integrates well with the old museum. Afterward, we had a good but pricey lunch in the glass-enclosed MFA courtyard by the gallery. There was a line, but it moved quickly.  The soup and salad were delicious, and it was pleasantly sunny and bright on a cold day.

Art of America's Wing designed by Foster & Partners of London, opened on 11/ 30/10, MFA website image.

It was definitely worth the drive down from Maine to see this marvelous collection. The parking lot can fill so take the Green-E Line T (subway) from central Boston to the "Museum of Fine Arts" stop. I'd also strongly recommend the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, in walking distance from the MFA. The Gardner is currently under renovation but you can still see parts of it.

21 comments:

Les said...

I'd go just for a chance to see more of Sargent's work.

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Sarah

Lucky you to live so close to Boston. Happy you had a great day with your daughter and could share to exhibit with her!

Best
Tracy :)

Carol said...

Good Morning Sarah, Thanks for sharing another lovely outing with your daughter. I so appreciate it especially since I will be going with my sisters in a couple of months. I love Sargent's work too. This painting is a particular favorite. What a great addition this wing is to the museum. I hope the storm that might be headed our way goes out to sea!

tina said...

I love that first stained glass fish. It is so beautiful. It's nice to see the art displayed in a manner other than just hanging on the wall amongst other paintings hanging on the wall. The scenes are great!

David Cranmer said...

I would love to stop in there on my way back to New York next week.

(This also reminds me I haven't done an art post in quite awhile.)

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I love how they made a little time period tableau around each piece of art. I will have to check this out. We are constantly in the Boston area doing our real estate search just over the NH border.

Barrie said...

How wonderful that you went with your daughter. Over Spring Break, Child #4 and I will have some time alone. I'm thinking we should work in a museum or two.

Sarah Laurence said...

Les, Sargent is really growing on me.

Tracy, I should go to Boston more frequently.

Carol, the MFA would be a fun sister outing. It’s the ultimate April Fool’s Day joke to get snow just when everything is melting. My kids are hoping for a snow day.

Tina, there was more stained glass in the exhibit, some pieces were nicely lit from behind but didn’t photograph as well. I couldn’t use flash obviously.

David, Boston would break up the drive, but there’s plenty of art in NYC. Enjoy!

Alyson, be sure to check out the side galleries (through doors) because there is one with just American primitive/folk art that you’d especially appreciate. Good luck with the house hunting.

Barrie, enjoy museum hopping with your daughter!

All, my internet connection is back up, yeah!

A Cuban In London said...

Fantastic exhibition and article about it. I now know where to go when I'm in Boston (if I ever make it there, that is :-D).

Greetings from London.

troutbirder said...

Ah what a fun day. Reminds me of when I was able to take my small town high school Humanities class up to the big city and the Minneapolis Art Museaum. :)

☆sapphire said...

This is a delightful post, Sarah.
I enjoyed it a lot. John Singer Sargent's painting is fabulous! And what a coincidence! I went to see the exhibition of the Ukiyo-e collection from the Museum of Fine Arts in Bostn in early March at Yamatane Museum in Tokyo. It was nice too. The koi in the first photo and the room in the second are so lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie Strong said...

I have put the Boston MFA on our itinerary for August. We are visiting Portland then from Australia for my son's wedding. I am enjoying your blog so much as I have never been to New England. Like you, I have also lived in New York and England, but have called Australia home for the past 20 years.

Sarah Laurence said...

All, happy April Fool’s! We are in the midst of a 6-10 inch snowstorm. There is already enough to ski out back. The lights keep flickering so we may lose power soon. The kids are enjoying a snow day. Very pretty!

ACIL, Boston is well worth a visit.

Troutbirder, one kid is easier to manage than a classroom in a museum, but it’s such a great learning experience.

Sapphire, it most certainly is a koi. It’s good to hear that art is traveling beyond blogs.

Stephanie, welcome to my blog and congratulations to your son! Check out my review of Portland’s Japanese restaurants. If you go to Boston, also check out my March 8 post below on Cambridge, just across the river.

Charlotte said...

It's been way too long since I visited the Isabella Gardner...and the Laudholm Reserve! Have been hoping to check out the new Fine ARts Wing in Boston!

Rose said...

I love the way the pieces of art are displayed in these period settings. It really does help to get a sense of the times that inspired these paintings.

Cat said...

The paintings do seem to come to life! I love how all the antiques and busy wall paper come together and create such an interesting space. Thanks for sharing.

cynthia said...

Nice to have time to catch up with you, Sarah. Cal and I enjoyed a trip to New York a couple of weeks ago. I filled up on inspiration from Picasso and Jackson Pollack, among others...

Donna said...

I can't believe I've never been to the Museum of Fine Arts. I'd really like to go there at some point. The art is beautiful!

Amanda said...

i love the gardener museum, but have not been to boston in a long time. thanks for this peek into the new wing of the mfa - will definitely plan a trip there on my next visit.

btw that sargent is exquisite.

Mama Shujaa said...

What amazing photographs Sarah! Thanks for sharing your visit.

Bee said...

I'd like a tour of artsy/historical Boston with you as my guide! A pity that Simon didn't have time to take in any treasures.

That large Sargent painting is absolutely wonderful. I like his palette. I would like a closer look at the expat family in Paris, too.