Sargent and snapshots at the Museum of Fine Arts

The John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston intends to show what the man meant to the culture of Boston in general and to the Museum of Fine Arts in particular.

A few of his drawings are shown. Some of his connections and friendships with other artists are described. The outline of his career and the circumstances of his several returns to Boston are traced. His influence is enshrined in a few handwritten letters displayed under glass. The current administration of the MFA feels indebted to Sargent as an artist and advisor, and wants the city and the nation to share its love for him. We are reminded that his precious portraits of the soft and privileged are kept all over town.

Just across the MFA’s wide courtyard, with its cool green Chihuly tower, is relief: Unfinished Stories, Snapshots from the Peter J. Cohen Collection. From our parents’ and grandparents’ Polaroids and Kodaks came these images of vacations at the beach and holidays at home. Casually posed or framed, and preserved in albums and drawers, the selected snapshots show moments of celebration, triumph and wonder.

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