November 10, 2010

The Boston School’s legacy of beauty.

Q: How can a school of art create inspiration?  

A: When it compels you to keep the tradition alive.

After recently visiting The Fenway Studios Open Studios and reading The Boston School by Blue Tree press, I’ve become inspired to paint in the tradition of The Boston School method.  Going forward, I plan to channel the masters and use their works of art as my inspiration for new translations of this little known, but powerful school of art.

Like those before me who passed this tradition down from teacher to student, in an unbroken chain for over 160 years, I want to keep this tradition moving forward.  So what is the Boston School?  In my words, it is American-born methodology that combines the great skill of classical French realism with the effects of light and atmosphere achieved by the French impressionists.  Atlantic Monthly Magazine described it as a “systematic cooperation of sentiment and skill.”

Robert Douglas Hunter, Arrangement with Copper and Brass Pot, 2009, Oil on Canvas
The Boston School methods were originally taught at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA.  The first Boston School artists were known as "The Ten American Painters" (also known as “The Ten”) and included the famed Edmund C. Tarbell and Frank W. Benson.  Since New York was in the throws of Modernism, The Ten chose to make their own market for this new blend of art and began to hold their own exclusive annual exhibits.  They even started their own Guild called the Guild of Boston Artist’s to forge an independent stronghold for their beliefs and a sanctuary for their faith in the power of art and importance of beauty.  

Sam Vokey, Lilies, 2010, Oil on Canvas
The Guild is still active today and claims many modern practioners of the Boston School tradition including Robert Douglas Hunter, Melody Phaneuf & Sam Vokey among others.


  1. Nice info! I am beginining my 4th year studing the Boston school style from a former student of Gammell, Paul Ingbretson. The atelier is north of Boston.



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