The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the largest museums in the United States attracting over one million visitors a year. It contains over 450,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas. The museum was founded in 1870 and its current location dates to 1909. In addition to its curatorial undertakings, the museum is affiliated with an art academy, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and a sister museum, the Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, in Nagoya, Japan. The current director of the museum is Malcolm Rogers.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts building, Back Bay occupied from 1876 - 1909
The Museum was founded in 1870 and opened in 1876, with a large portion of its collection taken from the Boston Athenaeum Art Gallery. Francis Davis Millet was instrumental in starting the Art School attached to the Museum and getting Emil Otto Grundmann (1844 - 1890) appointed as its first director.
Originally located in a highly ornamented terra cotta brick Gothic Revival building designed by John Hubbard Sturgis and located on Copley Square in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, it moved to its current location on Huntington Avenue, Boston's "Avenue of the Arts," in 1909.
The museum's present building was commenced in 1907, when museum trustees hired architect Guy Lowell to create a master plan for a museum that could be built in stages as funding was obtained for each phase. The first section of Lowell’s neoclassical design was completed in 1909, and featured a 500-foot (150 m) façade of cut granite along Huntington Avenue, the grand rotunda, and the associated exhibition galleries. Mrs. Robert Dawson Evans then funded the entire cost of building the next section of the museum’s master plan. This wing along the Back Bay Fens, opened in 1915 and houses painting galleries. From 1916 through 1925, John Singer Sargent created the art that lines the rotunda and the associated colonnade. Numerous additions enlarged the building throughout the years including the Decorative Arts Wing in 1968 and the Norman Jean Calderwood Garden Court and Terrace in 1997. This wing now houses the museum's cafe, restaurant, and gift shop as well as exhibition space.
The libraries at the Museum of Fine Arts house an extensive collection of 320,000 items. The William Morris Hunt Memorial Library is named in honor of the Vermont native and Boston painter and arts teacher, many of whose works are in the museum's permanent collection. Among the museum's holdings of Hunt's canvases is the 1866 Italian Peasant Boy.
The current president of the Museum of Fine Arts is George T.M. Shackelford, formerly the museum's chair of European art. A native of North Carolina, Shackelford graduated from Dartmouth College and Yale University. He serves as President of the Association of Art Museum Curators. Shackelford formerly worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, as the curator of European painting and sculpture.
In the mid-2000s, the museum embarked on a major renovation project. This includes the construction of a new wing for the arts of the Americas, redesigned and expanded education facilities, and extensive renovations of its European galleries, visitor services, and conservation facilities. This expansion will increase the size of the MFA by 28% with an additional 133,500 square feet (12,400 m2) of space.
The new wing is was designed in a restrained, contemporary style by the London architectural firm of Foster and Partners, under the directorship of Lord Norman Foster. Groundbreaking for the addition took place in 2006. In the process, the present garden courtyard will be transformed into a climate-controlled year-round glass enclosure. Landscape architects Gustafson Guthrie Nichol have redesigned the Huntington Avenue and Fenway entrances, gardens, access roads, and interior courtyards. The opening of the new wing is scheduled for late 2010.
Collection and exhibits
"Nine Dragons" handscroll section, by Chen Rong, 1244 AD, Chinese Song Dynasty, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Some highlights of the MFA's collection include:
* Egyptian artifacts including sculptures, sarcophogi, and jewelry.
* French impressionist and post-impressionist works including Paul Gauguin's Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (D'où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?) as well as works by Manet, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, Cézanne and many others.
* 18th and 19th century American art, including many works by John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent.
* the Morse collection of 5,000 pieces of Japanese pottery, part of the largest museum collection of Japanese works outside of Japan.
* the Gund Gallery which hosts temporary exhibits while a Japanese garden provides a quiet, contemplative space outside the museum itself.
african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif / arts
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galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre /
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