One of the largest art museums in the United States, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston has an extensive and diverse collection. Its 140 galleries contain world famous masterpieces as well as numerous intriguing lesser known works.
The museum was founded in 1870. Drawing primarily from the collection of the Boston Athenaeum Art Gallery, it had 5,600 works when the museum opened in 1876 in Copley Square.
Its collection grew exponentially and so it moved to its present location in the Fenway area in 1909. The original neo-classical building was designed by Guy Lowell.
Over the years, there have been numerous changes to the museum. For example, in 1981, a new wing designed by I.M. Pei was added. It is now the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. In 2010, the Art of Americas Wing opened.
The BMFA now has approximately half a million works in its permanent collection. These cover such diverse areas as Egyptian artifacts, Japanese art, textiles and musical instruments as well as European and American painting. It is renown for its collection of 17th century Dutch and Flemish painting. It also has an excellent collection of Spanish art including works by Velasquez and El Greco.
The museum has strong connections to the American master John Singer Sargent. It purchased its first work from the artist in 1905 and has since gone on to acquire many of his portraits and watercolors. Furthermore, in the 1920s, Sargent produced murals for the museum's Rotunda and Colonade. Most recently, the museum became the home of the John Singer Sargent Archive, a collection of letters, photographs and sketches relating to the artist.
Like Sargent, who was a good friend of Claude Monet, the BMFA has a strong appreciation of the works of the Impressionists. It has 37 paintings by Monet. In addition, it has masterpieces by Renoir, Cassat, Degas, and Pissaro as well as Cezanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh.
In addition to its permanent collection, the BMFA hosts temporary exhibitions. Drawing from its own collections, it also provides traveling exhibitions that are seen around the world.
Next to the BMFA is the School of the Museum of Fine Art Boston. This school of art has been providing art instruction since 1876. Since 2016, it has been part of Tufts University but still retains ties to the museum.
The BMFA is within close walking distance to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The two museums co-operate so that there is a discount on admission for visitors who see both museums in the same day.
For information on visiting, see the Museum of Fine Arts Boston website.
Above: The Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Below: From the BMFA's collection - John Singer Sargent's Portrait of Mrs. Fiske Warren and her Daughter. (Public domain).
Above: The Museum's Colonade with murals by John Singer Sargent.
Left: Van Gogh's portrait of the postmaster.
Below: The BMFA has both traditional galleries as well as ultra-modern galleries.
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS
Exhibition review: "Women Take the Floor"
Places to see art - - Boston, Massachusetts - - Boston Museum of Fine Arts