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Friends of Fenway Studios E-Newsletter
February 2012

The Friends of Fenway Studios was founded in 1998 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of this National Historic Landmark building, and to raising awareness of this cultural treasure, as well as promoting the work of the artists who work in the Fenway Studios.


Friends of Fenway Studios is a 501(c)(3) organization wholly supported by contributions from individuals, private foundations, and government grants. Contributions are fully tax-deductible.


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A Brief History
Studio Series Talks: Erica Hirshler
Featured Studio: B-4
Exhibitions for Fenway Studios Artists
Help Restore and Preserve Fenway Studios
A Brief History

Fenway Studios buildingThe Fenway Studios, a national landmark building located on Ipswich Street in the Back Bay, contains Boston's most beautiful studios, modeled after the grand ateliers of Paris, where many of the original Fenway Studios artists had studied.


The building was constructed in 1905, in response to the need for studio space in Boston after a disastrous fire ravaged the Harcourt Studio Building on Irvington Street.  Many of Boston's best-known artists barely escaped with their lives, and lost not only their studios, but their life's work in the fire. Fenway Studios was designed so that every one of the 46 studios would have north-facing windows, 12 feet high, that provide the north light cherished by painters. It is the oldest continuously functioning building in the country constructed for and dedicated solely to artists' space.  


The Studios are also the first in the country to pioneer a not-for-profit limited-equity form of ownership. In order to maintain rents at an affordable level, artists are not permitted to profit from the sale of their units, save an adjustment for inflation. Today, artists who reside at Fenway Studios paint in a variety of styles from abstract expressionism to post-modern realism. Click here to read more about Fenway Studios.


Studio Series Talks
Hirshler Lecture picture
Erica Hirshler, Ph. D.
Croll Senior Curator of American Paintings, at the MFA, Boston
"Studios of their Own: Boston Women Artists and the Fenway Studios"

6pm, April 3, 2012


It's not too early to reserve your seat for the Studio Series Talk on April 3, 2012, when Erica Hirshler, Croll Senior Curator of American Paintings, at the MFA, Boston, will discuss the women who were part of the Boston School of Painting, working at the Fenway Studios at the turn of the last century, and who pioneered as women artists in Boston and America, in general.


The talk will be held at the Lenox Hotel at 6 pm, with a private reception to follow at Vose Galleries, 238 Newbury Street.

Upcoming Lectures

Lindsay Leard-Coolidge

Author and Lecturer, Northeastern University

"Philip Leslie Hale and the Matunuck Summer School of Painting"
6 pm, May 1, 2012


Elizabeth Ives Hunter

 Executive Director, Cape Cod Museum of Art

"The Provincetown-Boston School of Painting Connection"
6 pm June 5, 2012



Click here for reservations and tickets  

 Photos courtesy of Vose Galleries: (from left to right) Mary Bradish Titcomb, The Writer; Lilla Cabot Perry, Hildegarde; Lee Lufkin Kaula, Reading







Featured Studio: B-4
Each issue we will focus on one of the 46 studios in the building, featuring an artist from the past and present

 Past Artist: Margaret Fitzhugh Browne


Margaret Fitz Hugh Browne PaintingMargaret Fitzhugh Browne had a studio at the Fenway Studios for 48 years, beginning in 1926. She was one of the first women artists to take advantage of life drawing classes, then rarely open to women, offered by what is now the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Browne's career as a portrait painter began directly after her studies at the Museum School in 1910. Her work was influenced by her mentors DeCamp, Tarbell and Benson, original artists at the Fenway Studios, whose Boston School style led Browne to emphasize beauty and technical precision in her work.


In 1936 she opened "The Margaret Fitzhugh Browne Studio for Instruction in Painting and Drawing." For a while these classes were taught out of studio B-4, and continued for over thirty years. Janet Monafo, a leading contemporary pastel artist, remembers Browne's classes fondly: "Miss Browne, who was in her eighties when I was there, sat in the front room smoking her cigarette, reading the paper, and greeting her students. [She would] give individual help to each student as needed, and at times apply the master stroke to a student work which was wonderful to see and experience." BrowneMargaret F Browne Photo also worked as the art editor of the Boston Evening Transcript and in 1933 authored a well-known book entitled Portrait Painting. Cementing her status as a professional working artist in Boston, Browne was a member of the Guild of Boston Artists, the Copley Society of Art, the Rockport Art Association, and exhibited her work at the prestigious Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City. In 2011 the Cape Ann Museum held an exhibition of her work titled, Margaret Fitzhugh Browne: Sixty Years of Portrait Painting, click here to purchase a catalog of the exhibition.


Photos courtesy of the Cape Ann Museum

Present Artist: Robert Baart

"My paintings hover between realism and abstraction. They embody a language of color, texture, light, atmosphere, and resonate on a level beyond the normal visual experience. They remain abstract yet familiar and I hope they provide the viewer with a moment of decompression and introspection."

Bob Baart PaintingRobert Baart graduated from the School of Museum  of Fine Arts in Boston in 1969, and applied for a space  at the Fenway Studios in 1979. At the time there was  not much interest in buying studio B-4, a well-used and worn large space in need of repair. "I saw the potential, and renovated, and it's been my studio for 33 years." Over this time, his work slowly evolved, sometimes taking a more traditional approach to depicting nature and   the landscape, and other times working more intuitively,  "staying open to places the process might take me rather than simply copying nature." The craft and process of painting is very important to his work, and as a teacher at the Museum School for the past 35 years, Mr. Baart has emphasized the importance of observation to his students, whether he was instructing them in silverpoint drawing, egg tempera, frescos, gilding, or oil painting.

Mr. Baart's work can be found in such prestigious public collections as the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, and in various other public and private collections in the U.S. and abroad.

Bob Baart Studio

On February 9th from 5-7 pm, an exhibition of his most recent work opens at the Towne Art Gallery at Wheelock College, which runs through February 23rd, 2012. For complete information and hours, please follow this link: www.wheelock.edu/art or call 617-879-2219.  Click here to see additional biographical information for Mr. Baart, as well as contact information and works available for sale.


Mr. Baart can be reached directly at his studio 617-247-4051 or by email: rcbaart@verizon.net

Top: Robert Baart, West Forks Winter; Bottom: Dylan Hurwitz, Studio B-4
Exhibitions for Fenway Studio Artists

Current Exhibitions

Bob Baart Painting2
Robert Baart: Breaker
Robert Baart

Robert Baart: Paintings and Drawings

Wheelock College in the Towne Art Gallery

180 The Riverway, Boston MA 02215

Opening: February 9th, 5-7pm

Now - February 23, 2012

For complete information and hours go to: wheelock.edu/art or call 617.879.2219

Gedas Painting

Gedas Paskkauskas, Ghosts of Sakonnet

Gedas Paskauskas

Gallery 55

55 South Main Street, Natick MA 01760

Now - February 29, 2012

For complete information and hours go to: www.gallery55.com/index.html or call 508-740-0260


Upcoming Exhibitions

Jane O'Hara Painting

Jane O'Hara, The Messanger


Jane O'Hara

at the Hynes Convention Center in the Main Rotunda

900 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02115

March 9 - May 9, 2012

For more information about Jane O'Hara's work go to: http://www.janeohara.com/index.php


 Nan Feldman Painting

Nan Hass Feldman, Yao Women in the Terraced Fields

Nan Hass Feldman

Dreaming East, Dreaming West

Fountain Street Fine Art

59 Fountain Street, Framingham MA 01702

March 16 - April 15, 2012

Opening Reception Saturday, March 17th from 5-7pm

For complete information and hours go to: http://fountainstreetfineart.com/index.html 
or call 508.879.4200














Help Restore and Preserve Fenway Studios
Fenway Studios
Your help is needed to restore the famous Fenway Studios windows and to preserve this National Historical Landmark building. The contributions of art lovers and others who appreciate the important role the Fenway Studios has played, and continues to play, in the cultural life of Boston, are vital to the continued support of this landmark. Friends of Fenway Studios ask for your financial support for this significant preservation work. To learn more about the work that needs to be done on the building and how to donate, click here.