For the first time ever, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
, invites the public to choose their most-loved Impressionist works for a special exhibition, Boston Loves Impressionism. From January 626, 2014, participants can Share the Love at mfa.org/sharethelove and on Facebook by selecting their favorite MFA works from a different themed group each weekOn the Water (seascapes), From the Land (landscapes and still lifes) and Of the People (portraits). Offering the public a selection of 50 works from the MFAs Impressionist collection, choices include masterpieces by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas and Gustave Caillebotte. The top 30 picks will be displayed in a special exhibition opening Valentines Day weekend in the MFAs Lois and Michael Torf Gallery, with the publics Top 10 Favorites highlighted by a heart on the wall label. Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director at the MFA, came up with the idea to let the public select works for an exhibition while the MFAs Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery of European Impressionism undergoes renovations. The choice is entirely up to voters. Boston Loves Impressionism is sponsored by Toshiba.
While the Museums popular European Impressionism Gallery is closed for renovation, we thought it would be exciting to let the public choose which of their favorite works would remain on view, said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director at the MFA. This is the first time weve ever presented an exhibition selected by the public. Boston has long loved Impressionism, and voters have the opportunity to write the next chapter in the story of Bostons passion for the artistic movement that has played such an important role in the MFAs history.
From January 6-29, mfa.org and the Museums Facebook page will direct fans to vote for their favorite Impressionist works from the MFAs collection. Museum visitors can also access voting through their mobile phones by scanning heart-shaped QR codes found throughout the building. Participants may vote once a day. Each week, participants will be served a new selection of works, and the 30 top vote getters will earn a spot in the exhibition. Then, the top 10 will be part of a finals round of the best works. After voting ends, Museum curators and designers will have just two weeks to install the exhibition and tell the story of Impressionism. On Valentines Day weekend, the exhibitionand the publics favorite Impressionist workswill be revealed. Fans who cast a vote will be emailed an invitation for two to the exhibition.
Share the Love and Cast a Vote Timeline:
Monday, January 6Sunday, January 12:
The first category is On the Water, offering 17 waterscapes for the public to choose
Monday, January 13Sunday, January 19
Voting for From the Land (17 landscapes and still lifes)
Monday, January 20Sunday, January 26
Voting for Of the People (16 figures and portraits)
Monday, January 27Wednesday, January 29
Final round: the Top 10 vote getters, from the previous three weeks, compete
Friday, February 14
Exhibition opens and fans that voted receive free admission
Saturday and Sunday, February 15 and 16
Special Valentines Day weekend activities for fans that voted
In the On the Water category, the 17 seascapes and water views include Monets famed Water Lilies (1907), Vincent Van Goghs Houses at Auvers (18531890) and Alfred Sisleys La Croix Blanche at Saint-Mammès (1884). The category From the Land includes 17 paintings of landscapes and still lifes such as Caillebottes Fruit Displayed on a Stand (about 1881-82), Paul Cézannes Fruit and a Jug on a Table (about 1890-4) and Camille Pissarros Pontoise, the Road to Gisors in Winter (1873). Of the People will include 16 portraits and figure paintings, such as Woman with a Parasol (about 1874-76) by Renoir, Racehorses at Longchamp (1871) by Degas and In the Loge (1878) by American Mary Cassatt. The Top 10 vote getters from across the three categories will then be served up for a final roundand ranked from 110during the final three days of voting. The Top Three most popular works will earn a place of honor at the entrance of the exhibition.
Through the lens of voters choices, the exhibition will also tell a larger story: that of Bostons long-standing love for Impressionism, which began in the 1870s and 1880s and continues to the present day. The show will explore contributions made by the visionary collectors whose individual tastes and personalities have helped shape the MFAs collection over the past century and a half. At the conclusion of the exhibition, curators will install a small selection of Impressionist works from private collectors.
This project presents a unique opportunity both to engage the public in a new way and to share the extraordinary story of the Museums Impressionist collection, said Emily Beeny, the MFAs Assistant Curator, Paintings, Art of Europe. Chosen once by the collectors, dealers, curators and directors who brought them to Boston, and now chosen again by online voters, the works included in this show promise to provide a glimpse into the history of the city and a snapshot of its taste today.
The MFAs History with Impressionism
Bostonians were among the worlds first collectors of Impressionism, a style commonly derided as depraved by Parisian critics of their day. By 1892, when Bostons St. Botolph Club hosted the first non-commercial show of Monets work held anywhere in the world, local collectors owned so many Monets that at least 20 had to be excluded from the exhibition due to lack of space. The Museum of Fine Arts soon reaped the benefits of Bostons enthusiasm. The MFA received its first three Monets as a gift in 1906 and today holds the largest collection of this artists paintings outside Paris.
Bostons love of Impressionism was not limited to Monet. Countless gifts and judicious purchasesfrom Degas Racehorses at Longchamp (1869), the first work by this artist purchased by any American museum, in 1903, to Caillebottes Man at His Bath (1884), the MFAs most recent Impressionist addition, bought in 2011have made the MFAs Impressionist collection one of the finest in the world. With Boston Loves Impressionism, the public will be able to enjoy the citys good fortune of having been home to many savvy collectors over the decades.
Boston Loves Impressionism will be on view from February 14May 26, 2014 in the Museums Torf Gallery while the Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallerythe MFAs European Impressionism galleryundergoes extensive renovations. The gallery will reopen on June 4, 2014. Filled with Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and sculpture, the gallery will provide an in-depth look at avant-garde artists working in France between 1870 and 1900. The renovation of this gallery was made possible with support from the Vance Wall Foundation.