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Boston Painting 1880-1930

THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS in Boston has had a show of Boston painters of about the turn of the century, which was interesting on several counts. One, of course, was local: one learns a great deal about an important period in the past of a city to which one may be attached, as I certainly am—and not such a remote past either, since most of these painters did not die until about 1940 or later. But the fact is that even today Boston is not just another city, and at the time represented by the show it was only a decade or two beyond its finest period since Colonial times: this was the world of Mrs. Jack Gardner and of Charles William Eliot, of William James and William Dean Howells, a world which even then, as much in the writing of Henry James attests, could hold its own against what was happening in New York. In sum I think that the show cast interesting light on an important episode in American

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