Boston's Love for Neoclassical Sculptors

THU, MAY 6, 2004 (1:06:32)

David Dearinger discusses Boston's obsession with neoclassical sculpture in the 1800s. From early in its history, the city of Boston exhibited a certain awareness of culture, and a number of its citizens labored within the new republic to establish an environment in which the fine arts could flourish. Early evidence of these efforts is seen in their fascination with neoclassical sculpture. From the 1820s through the 1860s, Bostonians commissioned and purchased the finest examples of the marble (or marmorean) products of American artists who worked in this refined, classically based style. They gave much needed monetary and psychological support to many American artists, but many natives, including Thomas H. Perkins, Charles Sumner, Edward Everett, Charlotte Cushman, Harriet Lee, and several members of the Cabot, Cushing, and Appleton families, had a particular affinity for the American sculptors. These men and women formed a distinctive pool of patrons on which American sculptors, including Horatio Greenough, Thomas Crawford, Hiram Powers, and Harriet Hosmer could depend for purposeful, sincere, and even altruistic support that represents one of American art history's great aesthetic love affairs.

David Dearinger is the Susan Morse Hilles Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Boston Athenaeum. An art historian and curator, he received his PhD, with a specialty in nineteenth-century American art, from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He taught art history in New York at Brooklyn College, Hunter College, and, for many years, at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Before coming to Boston, he was Chief Curator at the National Academy of Design in New York. He has published and lectured widely on the history of American painting and sculpture.

+ BIO: David Dearinger

David Dearinger is Susan Morse Hilles curator of paintings and sculpture at the Boston Athenaeum. An art historian and curator, he received his PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, with a specialty in nineteenth-century American art. He taught art history in New York at Brooklyn College, Hunter College and, for many years, at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Before coming to Boston, he was chief curator at the National Academy of Design in New York. He has published and lectured widely on the history of American painting and sculpture.

Partner
Boston Athenaeum
Series
Boston's 375th Anniversary Series
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