Art of Americas Wing at MFA

It’s cold and the middle of winter, um who else is experiencing a serious case of cabin fever? On Saturday, Greg and I went into Boston to check out the new Art of Americas wing at the MFA. Fifty-three new galleries on four floors, devoted to Pre-Columbian era through the third quarter of the twentieth century. My favorite Level 1: 18th-Century Art of the Colonial Americas and Early 19th-Century Art. Just a few of my favorites below.

Double chair-back settees have caught my attention lately. I spotted one for a split second in the Social Network and have been obsessed since (more to come on this topic) . This example spotted in the Lynch gallery showcases a rare example with double carved owl faces.

Update the MFA contacted me with the information on the wallpaper below: Waterhouse Wallhangings East India #158484.

I’ve been on the hunt for wing chairs with graceful lines. These two examples have beautiful swoops. Cording wasn’t used in the arm of the curve but a simple piece of upholstery was hand-stitched on the seam. According to the plate the chairs retained most of their original upholstery. Also, included is the photo is an early American Windsor chair. I’ve come a number of documents indicating all Windsors in the Boston around the 18th-century were painted this dark hunter green.

A room removed from an 18th-century house in Bath, Maine displayed a gorgeous hand-painted landscape. I know it’s hard to see but the molding is painting a green/blue. An arm chair in the room was slipcovered in a gray stripe…maybe I need one too?

I believe I spotted this piece on the second floor in the folk art gallery? I don’t remember much about it specifically but it’s hung on this amazing wall displaying some of the most beautiful and interesting weathervanes I’ve ever seen.

The exterior door and frame were taken from a rural home outside Longmeadow, Massachusetts. The door was massive and grand. At the very top grapes(?) hung down from the pediment, which is something I’ve never come across before.

At the very bottom one of my favorite new to me paintings I spotted on the very top floor of the new wing. The way the artist painted the snow was really captivating. Country Doctor (Night Call), 1935, Horace Pippin, American, 1888–1946.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA

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  1. Love the wallpaper in Boston. It’s very complex. I don’t think I’ve seen it for sale anywhere. I didn’t see it on the Waterhouse site.

    I loved The Social Network. Especially the plumbing. Did anyone notice the age of the plumbing in the dorm rooms seemed to connote status at Harvard? The house they rented “just off the Stanford campus” looks like one in which I babysat in the 1980s in Menlo Park.


  2. Hi Katy,

    i love catching up on your blog from time to time. Do you know about Marthe Armitage’s wallpapers? They are very beautiful, esp Oakleaf and Chestnut. All printed here in London.

    Another great wallpaper company in England is Blithefield and Co – They did the very pretty pink wallpaper in the ‘Annabel’s House’ bedroom. Also – Another brit, Penny Morrison makes very pretty fabrics too – and most of them also come as wallpapers! They are quite Peter Fasanoish.

    Also – bit of random info – Annabel’s House is named after the wife who designed it. Very sad story. She died of cancer about 3 years ago. She was an interior designer, and her husband is the Queen’s physician, Tim Evans. She also designed ‘Bazeley House’ which is where the family now live – I think you can see it on the 1st Option site too – pretty amazing for a new build!


  3. We were there on Saturday too! I loved it so much. I thought the building itself was incredible — somehow modern and warm, grand and intimate all at once. I adored the framed wallpaper, especially the gallery that felt almost like the Frick, paintings hung willy nilly. The whole place felt full of life. I missed so much of this though because of time and will make a point to find that door and folk art — I think I spotted Grandma Moses through a door but we had to scoot. We are definitely re-upping our membership!


  4. I LOVE it! They had some really great stuff in the museum in Williamsburg too. We’ve been wantong to go to Boston for a while, but they always station us so far away. We like to drive because we always hit thrift and antique stores and end up coming home with a full car load!


  5. Beautiful! I am kind of embarrassed at how little I go to museums anymore. I used to go in college all the time.Thanks for the reminder.


  6. Thanks for this post. I went to SMFA before I moved out of state, and they were working on this wing almost the whole time I was there. I spent a lot of time in that museum and was sad to leave before seeing the new wing. It’s nice to get a glimpse of it, and through a personal perspective.


  7. The wallpaper in the MFA room looks like something I have seen before, from either Waterhouse Wallcoverings or Thomas Strahan. Both companies are worth checking out; they’re local and do a great job reproducing 18th and 19th century wallpapers.