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With Éclat
The Boston Athenæum and the Origin of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Hina Hirayama

Boston Athenaeum
2013 • 240 pp. 81 illus. (39 color) 7 1/2 x 10 1/2"
New England History / Museum Studies

$29.95 Paperback, 978-0-934552-82-0
$28.99 Ebook, 978-0-934552-83-7

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

"Hina Hirayama has undertaken thorough research into this institutional partnership, and narrates its story in fascinating detail." —Apollo

A detailed history of the Boston Athenæum’s historic role in the founding of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Boston Athenæum played a vital role in founding the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, a fact that is not widely known. This book details this important relationship, from its inception through the museum’s early years when the Athenæum’s continued support ensured the young institution’s survival.

This historic partnership was remarkable in its intensity, intimacy, and informality, yet its details have never been fully documented. Based on extensive new research, With Éclat chronicles the joint endeavor in greater detail than ever before and places it in the context of Boston’s changing cultural landscape. This extraordinary story will appeal to those who know these wonderful institutions or are interested in the history of American museums.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Her book chronicles the vital role that the Boston Athenæum played in the founding, in 1870 of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). A membership library founded in 1807, the Athenæum offered crucial assistance to the MFA both before and after the younger institution’s incorporation, ensuring its initial survival and later success. The cooperation between the Athenæum and the MFA was remarkable in its intensity, intimacy, and informality, yet details of this fascinating partnership have never been fully documented or explained. This book charts the two institutions’ joint endeavors in greater detail than ever before and places this extraordinary collaboration in the context of Boston’s changing cultural landscape.”—Bedford Citizen

“Did you ever wonder how the huge and influential Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) got its start? The most comprehensive chronicle available to answer that question, which had not been fully told before, is found in this book. It begins with the Boston Athenæum’s key role and the so-called Brahmin culture of 19th-century Boston, which the author focuses upon with an admirable blend of respect for accuracy and vivacity, arising from her steadfast curiosity, research, and clear presentation.”—Maine Antique Digest

“Hina Hirayama offers an engrossing history of one of the city’s most revered cultural institutions and an account of the all-but-forgotten support it received from a sister organization during its formative years.”—New England Quarterly

“Hina Hirayama's With Éclat: The Boston Athenaeum and the Origin of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, reconstructs the largely forgotten history of cooperation and conflict between the Boston Athenaeum and the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in their formative years . . . Some writers, Hirayama reminds us, have alleged that Brahmin efforts to promote cultural institutions in Boston were a veiled attempt to control immigrants through "culture" in order to compensate for the waning political power of establishment families . . .”
—Jeffrey Mifflin,
Historical Journal of Massachusetts


Winner of the Historic New England Book Prize (2013)

HINA HIRAYAMA is associate curator of paintings and sculpture at the Boston Athenæum.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:11:23 -0500