The “Then” of Fresh Paint

By Paige Roehrig on April 25, 2019

This year the Copley Society of Art is celebrating 140 years of illustrious and vibrant history. To commemorate the historic accomplishments of Co|So, many artist members will be taking inspiration from prominent artworks of Boston when they participate in this year’s Fresh Paint. While we eagerly anticipate the arrival of the finished plein air paintings, we’re taking a look at the historical achievements of those famous artists, many former members of the Copley Society, serving as inspiration to the contemporary counterparts for our biggest event of the year.

Arthur Clifton Goodwin, Mount Vernon Street, oil on canvas, 30 x 36 in, Private collection

Boston artist Arthur Clifton Goodwin is mostly known for his impressionist landscapes and cityscapes. He drew much of his inspiration from French impressionist, Claude Monet. His self-taught artistic skills would eventually gain the attention of Childe Hassam and John Singer Sargent, both of whom praised his paintings full of spontaneous impressionist brushstrokes. To this day his most celebrated paintings are his views of docks, ports, landscapes, and cityscapes from around Boston and Gloucester.

Childe Hassam, Charles River and Beacon Hill, ca. 1892 oil on canvas, 16 1/8” x 18”, oil on canvas, MFA, Boston

Boston native Childe Hassam was born on October 17th, 1859 in Dorchester in Boston. In 1886 Hassam moved to Paris where he became fascinated to French Impressionism. After his time abroad he returned to the east coast, and brought with him what he learned from French Impressionism. Hassam was a central figure in the introduction of impressionist paintings to American art collectors. The prolific American Impressionist painter and late member of the Copley Society of Art continues to be admired for his urban and coastal scenes.

Frank W. Benson, The Open Window, 1917, oil on canvas, 52” x 42”, National Gallery of Art

Frank W. Benson, native of Salem, Massachusetts, is best known of his impressionist plein-air paintings that focused on capturing light. In this interior, he does just that through his rendering of softly-suffused light emanating from the open windows. The sunlight from the bright windows reflects upon the hard-wood flooring inside this East coast interior.

Maurice Prendergast, Franklin Park, Boston, ca. 1896-1897, watercolor and pencil on paper, 17″ x 33”

Maurice Prendergast grew up in the South End of Boston where he was apprenticed as a youth to a commercial artist. This experience in advertising is reflected in his use of a bright color palette in almost all of his works. The post-impressionist painter would work in oil, watercolor and monotype throughout his career. His artistic style is unique in its expressionistic qualities and loosely applied colors that suggest form and movement.


See our artist members’ contemporary views of classic scenes inspired by these great artists of Boston from May 5th to May 16th.


To purchase tickets to the Fresh Paint Auction and Gala click here: