Under the heading of Coming Distractions…
You are heartily invited to a talk I’m giving at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston next Wednesday evening (April 9) at 7 p.m.
The boy in the title is me. The Boston School refers to the painting orthodoxy that held firm in these parts for nearly half a century after modernism “arrived” with the Armory Show of 1913.
When the museum asked me to talk about growing up under the MFA influence, I leapt at the chance because I’d been introspecting idly for a long time on imagery and taste, how we learn (or don’t) our expressive possibilities, how the Boston of my boyhood got so stuck in the past, and why those Sargents and many lesser Back Bay Vermeers have come to look so stylish and, yes, beautiful after all.
The late Elizabeth Paxton–student, model and wife of William McGregor Paxton, a pillar of the Boston School–was a family friend and a woman of authority and immense fascination when we were growing up. She reemerged a couple of years ago as a star of the marvelous MFA show “A Studio of Her Own.” And I wanted especially to remember and reexamine my devotion to her.
So please come if you’re on for thinking out loud about the pictures in my head–and yours, too.