Although the history of painting in Boston during the first half of the twentieth century has been well documented, with particular attention to the so-called Boston School, the latter half of the century has been relatively neglected, despite the remarkable body of work produced during that period. This handsome volume, created by the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in conjunction with a major exhibition, addresses that oversight.
The book includes essays by five experts in the field, presenting and analyzing the work of sixty-seven artists. Rachel Rosenfield Lafo introduces the reader to the Boston art scene, from the academic institutions that have nourished the area's painters, to the galleries where their work has been shown, to the museums, exhibitions, and critics that have shaped public opinion. Writing about the Realist tradition that has thrived in Boston for over three hundred years, John Stomberg focuses on a group of painters of widely differing styles who have redefined Realism in modern and contemporary terms.
Nicholas Capasso explores the efflorescence of Figurative Expressionism in Boston and the later emergence of Neo-Expressionism, which incorporates greater degrees of humor and introspection, as well as stylistic variety and experimentation. Carl Belz devotes his essay to Abstract painting and to three generations of artists who have forged identities that complement yet remain distinct from those of their counterparts in New York. Ann Wilson Lloyd concludes with a discussion of the "New Painting"—work done since the mid-1980s—drawing important connections to intellectual trends, current practices in other art media, and global developments.
What emerges from this volume is a new appreciation of the accomplishments of Boston-area painters and the art community that has sustained them. The book also places their work in a local, national, and international perspective.
Along with a general introduction, the editors have provided an extensive chronology of important events, an exhibition checklist, a bibliography, and a brief biographical profile of each artist whose work is included.