French Impressionist Masterpieces at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

"Dance at Bougival" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Have you ever had a chance encounter with a dear friend in a strange city?  Well, I experienced that feeling of, "Isn't it wonderful to bump into you here!", while visiting the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston.  Let me back up a little bit and explain that my parents had one of those coffee table books with pictures of famous artwork sitting on the couch in the living room that we rarely used.  On hot summer days, I would tiptoe into the cool, moss green room and flip through the pages, letting the scenes in the paintings transport me to other lands.  Something about Renoir's painting, Dance at Bougival, appealed to my childish sense of carefree abandon, when spending an evening being twirled around by a man seemed like something out of a fairy tale.

"Camille Monet and a Child" by Claude Monet

In addition to paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Gustave Caillebotte, the MFA has one of the largest collections of work by Claude Monet outside of Paris.  And the added bonus is that there aren't long lines and lots of people.  In addition to their collection of French Impressionist masterpieces, the MFA recently opened an impressive Art of The Americas wing.  As thrilled as I was to see Renoir's dancers, my encounter with the massive painting, Watson and the Shark, reminded me of the nightmares that it used to provoke when I was a child.  It's the one where a boy with long flowing blond hair has just had his leg bitten off by a shark.  Gruesome! - but a notable painting by the American artist, John Singleton Copley.

Related post: Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass

"Field of Poppies near Giverney" by Claude Monet


  1. Have you read David McCullough's new book, The Greater Journey? For me it tied Paris and America in a way that other books have not. Especially in the areas of art and medicine.

    I've subscribed to "Out and About in Paris" since "meeting" you on Trip Advisor and I'm enjoying reading about your new home and your travels.

  2. Penny, It's funny that you should mention McCullough's new book because I've been trying to resist reading it after buying it in Boston last week. After reading a few pages and looking at some of the pictures, I started getting homesick for Paris...which is not such a great idea since I'm on vacation in the USA, so I forced myself to close the book and will try to wait until I get back home to resume reading it.

    I hope that McCullough will come to Paris to promote his book and will do an author talk at one of the English bookstores. If he does, I'll be sure to write a post about it!

  3. Mary Kay, I'm trilled because he's moved into the Back Bay of Boston where I live and I keep running into him on walks and at neighborhood events. He is so open and warm and friendly. And, he thanks people for their volunteer work and notices what is going on and asks great questions.

    Isn't it nice when a hero is everything you hoped he or she would be?

  4. How wonderful that you've already met Mr. McCullough. Judging from everything that I've heard about him (from you and another Bostonian on Trip Advisor), he seems as if he really is an admirable man...and just the kind one would want for a hero! The next time that you see him, please tell him that he has many admirers abroad, too! I posted the following thread about his book on TA's Paris forum:

    Happy 4th of July - Judging from the pictures on your blog, Boston is a fun place to celebrate Independence Day!


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