Boston school


A distinct local style in Boston in the late 19th and early 20th centuries linked to teachers and students of the Museum of Fine Arts School. Paintings of the Boston School are distinctive for their focus on beauty, excellent craftsmanship, and solid structure. Favored subjects were portraits, especially of elegant women, as well as tastefully presented interiors, sun-filled landscapes, and impeccably arranged still life. Narrative genre scenes and laboring people were avoided as subjects. Otto Grundmann (1844-1890), early teacher at the Museum School, is credited for giving the School "its most distinctive characteristic, the old Dutch tradition of observing and rendering the most subtle aspects of color" and "careful study of composition". (Falk) Among Grundmann's students were Edmund Tarbell and Frank Benson, and they, as subsequent teachers at the school, became the most prominent representatives of the Boston School of painting. The circle of painters had studios in the Fenway Studio Building on Ipswich Street or in their homes. Generally they were close personal friends who exhibited together and critiqued each other's works. Other Boston School painters were Frank Benson, Robert Gammell, Abbott Graves, Ellen Day Hale, Lillian Westcott Hale, Aldro Hubbard, Elizabeth Paxton, Lilla Perry and Charles Woodbury. Sources: "A Studio of Her Own" by Erica Hirshler; "Who Was Who in American Art" by Peter Falk