The Museum of Fine Arts has always been an impressive collection of art and artifacts from the world over. The collection, in fact, is so massive and stunning, much of it has spent more than its fair share of time in storage so as to be able to rotate in fresh exhibits throughout the year. But, should you have a favorite you always wished to see, it was often a roll of the dice whether your favorite piece of art would be available for viewing on the day you happened to stop by to peruse the galleries.
Now, however, with the massive MFA expansion, more of its impressive collection is available for view year round. The new Art of the Americas Wing offers painting, sculptures, crafts-work, furniture and artifacts from pre-Colombian times through the mid 1970’s in over 53 galleries. The new and impressive wing opened to the general public on November 20th and shows the intricate care and planning that went into its creation over the past 10 years.
Unlike its concrete counterpart, the main MFA buildings, the new wing features floor to ceiling glass on exterior rooms in a stunning sprawl designed by architect Norman Foster. Sculptures and paintings share like minded spaces, speaking of the period from which they were created. Starting from the bottom floor and working up is a chronological journey through American history as well as its cultural and artistic milestones.
The galleries feature many new acquisitions, carefully selected items on loan from other collections as well as number of items brought out from storage for all to enjoy. One could easily spend a full day on each of the new wing’s four levels. The vast difference of the collections featured on the wing’s lowest level is stunning. Enjoy works from Ancient America, Native Americans, the 17th Century and an amazing Maritime collection. The collection includes such diversity as a Shaman Effigy Pendant to a painting of Colonial New York Harbor.
The next level up features 18th Century Art of Colonial America through the mid-19th Century, including the famed Paul Revere portrait by John Singleton Copley from 1768. The next houses 19th Century and early 20th Century Art, including the painting featured above: The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit by John Singer Sargent from 1882. And, finally, should you be able to make it so far, the top level features 20th Century Art through the mid 1970’s, offering such eclectic varieties as a Georgia O’Keefe White Rose with Larkspure No.2 painting from 1927 and a Punchbowl from the ‘Jazz Bowl’ Series designed and decorated by Viktor Schreckengost from 1931.
And should it so happen that you have never been to the MFA, or perhaps it has been some time, the rest of the museum is surely not to be missed. It has one of the finest Egyptian collections I have ever seen in the states. One thing is for sure, one trip now will never be enough.
Location: Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, The Fenway, Boston 617.267.9300 mfa.org