American Paintings: MFA Highlights
Text by Janet Comey, Elliot Davis, Karen Quinn, Ellen Roberts, Carol Troyen, Erica Hirshler.
New Series MFA Highlights presents the best of the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in a new series of accessible, uniform paperback volumes. The aim of the series is threefold: to highlight the main holdings of the MFA's permanent collections in handsome, affordable editions; to provide an informed, readable overview of various segments of art, for use by students, visitors and scholars; and, over time, to create a library that will act as a general tour of world art. The first two titles in the series are American Painting and Arts of Egypt, to be followed by volumes on Musical Instruments, Photography, European Painting and Sculpture, European Decorative Arts, Contemporary Art, Textiles, Prints and Drawings, Modern Design, and the arts of China, Japan, Africa, India and the Islamic world. The look of these books is modern, but the content is timeless. Each book is approximately 250 pages, fully illustrated in color, bound in a uniform paperback format, and priced below $20.00. American Paintings features over 100 masterworks dating from 1670 to 1960 from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The aritsts featured range from Copley, Whistler, Cassatt, and Sargent to Hopper, Marin, Gorky and Pollock. Divided according to chronology and genre, each of the book's 15 sections begins with a thematic introduction, followed by short discussions of individual paintings. Certain introductions narrate a history of American painting--from the earliest years of the British colonies to the mid-twentieth century, touching on such focal points as the American Revolution, westward expansion, the Civil War, and the two World Wars--while others more specifically discuss genres such as history painting, folk painting, portraiture, and still life. The narrative touches on broader themes as well, such as the American artists' relationship with European art, the establishment of indigenous painting styles, the role of patronage in American art, and the question of provincial vs. “high” art. Rich in both visual and textual content, American Paintings is a valuable and enjoyable resource for both the museum visitor and the general reader.