A close second to my love for genealogy is my love for art. There are so many wonderful artists of all mediums, over all centuries, both male & female, it’s hard to pick my favorites. I really like so many, but these are definitely my top three most loved male painters , who also happen to have New England connections. Some people want to find they are a Mayflower Descendant – I would love to find these men in my tree! Sadly though, I do not believe they are.
If you have never actually been to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston – you really need to change that. If that just isn’t in the cards right now at least check out their website. You could start here for their collection of Painting of the Americas. For those who love art from a place deep in their soul like I do, it is the reason descriptions similar to ‘leaving you completely breathless’ and ‘my eyes filled with tears of wonder’ exist.
1. Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865)
Boston Harbor c1853
Lane was a native of Gloucester, Ma, and primarily self taught. He was born Nathaniel Rogers Lane and went by that name until March of 1832 when Massachusetts allowed his name be legally changed to Fitz Henry Lane. This was a fact historians discovered in 2005 after assuming for eons his name was Fitz Hugh Lane. Lane's father, Jonathan Dennison Lane was a sail maker, & his mother was Sally (Sarah Ring (Haskell) (NEHGS). Many don't realize Lane was actually paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 18 months, possibly from the ingestion of a weed, and never recovered the use of his legs.
Long before I knew of Lane's challenges, he has by far been my favorite artist. Even I find that unusual, because I'm not really into nautical themes. It's his luminous depictions which blur the line between surreal and reality in the most awe inspiring way. The exquisite detail in his work simply amazes me and leaves me yearning to sit next to him watching and learning, all the while experiencing the contrasting raw vision of Boston Harbor with the wonderment through his eyes. Then add to that the struggles & daily challenges this man had to have endured growing up - it just blows my mind that through all that - this is how he envisioned the world. Further, he is said to have been a social reformer, transcendentalist & Spiritualist. No doubt, he is one of the five people I would like to invite for dinner!
Someday I'll get to the Cape Ann Museum - may be I'll blog about that - until then check it out here :)
2. John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
Mrs Fiske Warren (Gretchen Osgood)
and Her Daughter Rachel c1903
Gretchen (Osgood) Warren of Boston was "an accomplished poet" (mfa.org).
Sargent was actually born in Florence to American parents. His closest tie to Boston are his murals in the Boston Public Library - Click here
Currently there is an exhibition of his watercolors at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston until Jan 20, 2014.
3. John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)
Mrs James Warren (Mercy Otis) c1763
Mercy Otis Warren was a well-known playwright, political activist and the American Revolution's first historian.
Copley was "North America's first great painter" according to MFA.org, who hold 60 of his oil paintings, the largest collection in the world.
Amylynne (Baker) Murphy