Art Galleries I’ve Visited this Summer

Whenever I travel, I make every effort to visit all the art galleries a city has to offer. Here is a quick review of the spaces I’ve visited so far this summer.

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ABOVE: Josiah McElheny, Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism, 2007, hand-blown mirrored glass, low iron and transparent mirror, metal, wood, electric lighting, 94.5 x 92.2 x 92.2 inches (as seen at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

BELOW: The courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

After spending countless hours in larger galleries, it’s nice to enter a small space, look at some cool art, then go on with your day. This place, although small, contains a tightly curated collection of Canadian art (no big names, but lot’s of good stuff ) and is located right in the heart of the city. If you’re ever in Charlottetown, and have less than an hour to kill, I highly suggest you go.

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Although not as small as the Confederation Centre of the Arts, this centrally located art gallery is also easy to see in a short period of time. It has a great selection of Canadian art in it’s permanent collection, and the space for a few temporary exhibitions as well. There aren’t a lot of big name artists on display, but, as is often the case, that’s actually a good thing.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

This space is huge and it’s collection is expansive. Be prepared to spend the better part of a day roaming its many galleries. Whether it be contemporary art, or the work of the ancients, this museum has something for everyone. Some big name artists as well.

Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts

One of the coolest galleries you’ll ever visit. The museums courtyard (pictured above) is absolutely stunning, but the rest of the building is creepy as shit. Believe me, you’ll feel like you just stepped onto the set of a horror movie when you enter this place (in a good way though). The art could be better labelled, but it is exceptional, and the non-traditional way in which it is presented is a big part of the experience. Like the MFA above, there are some big name artists here. Unlike the MFA, it’s easy to navigate.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts

I love contemporary art, so I was super excited to visit the ICA. I’m really glad I did because the art in it’s temporary and permanent galleries is awesome. Many of the institutes recent acquisitions are by female artists, or artists of colour.

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America’s Most Famous Unfinished Artwork

This summer, I will be travelling to Boston, and when I do, I’ll be sure to swing by the Museum of Fine Arts to see Gilbert Stewart’s iconic George Washington Portrait.

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ABOVE: Gilbert Stuart, George Washington, 1796, oil on canvas, 47 x 37 inches, The Museum of Fine Arts, Photo: © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In 1796, renowned portraitist Gilbert Stuart was commissioned to paint George and Martha Washington. George was reluctant to sit for another portrait (Stuart had painted him the previous year), but agreed, so long as the finished products became the property of his wife.

Before completion however, Stuart decided that he liked these portraits better than previous efforts, and in order to avoid handing them over to Martha, he deliberately left them unfinished. Even worse, he theused the president’s portrait as a model for numerous commissions, and held on to both paintings until his death in 1828.

In 1869, Stuart’s image of George Washington was placed on the $1 bill, and to this day, is one of the world’s most iconic portraits. It is owned jointly by the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I’m hoping to see it this summer.