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.