Published by MFA Publications, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Text by Erica E. Hirshler.
In this vivid account of one of Boston's best-loved paintings, leading American art specialist Erica E. Hirshler illuminates the context of Childe Hassam's 1880s city scene. With its rosy rust tones, intimate familial vignette and quiet expanse of snow-laden park, today "At Dusk (Boston Common at Twilight)" seems to encourage reflection and represent a decidedly old-fashioned city. Yet Hirshler reveals the ways in which the painting visually signaled the emerging modern city, from subtleties about women's place in the urban landscape to the uproarious clang of the streetcars that would have been heard on the busiest block in Boston. Enriched with reproductions of related paintings and archival illustrations, this evocative volume explores the countered conventions and bulldozed buildings behind the canvas's creation. Carefully researched and elegantly presented, the latest addition to the MFA Spotlight series will delight Hassam fans and history buffs alike.