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Childe Hassam: At Dusk: Boston Common at Twilight

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is NOT required
Childe Hassam, American, 1859–1935. At Dusk (Boston Common at Twilight), 1885–86. Oil on canvas.
Childe Hassam, American, 1859–1935. At Dusk (Boston Common at Twilight),1885–86. Oil on canvas.

Childe Hassam: At Dusk: Boston Common at Twilight

Erica E. Hirshler

In this talk, leading American art specialist Erica E. Hirschler will share excerpts of her vivid account of one of Boston's best-loved paintings, Childe Hassam’s At Dusk (Boston Common at Twilight).She will discuss with audience members the context of Childe Hassam's 1880s city scene. With its rosy rust tones, intimate familial vignette, and quiet expanse of snow-laden park, today At Duskseems to encourage reflection and represent a decidedly old-fashioned city. Yet Hirshler will reveal the ways in which the painting visually signaled the emerging modern city, from subtleties about women's place in the urban landscape to the uproarious clang of the streetcars that would have been heard on the busiest block in Boston. She will discuss her carefully researched and elegantly presented book, which offers a new perspective to those already acquainted with the painting as well as an evocative look at a singular moment in Boston history.

Erica E. Hirshler is Croll Senior Curator of American Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Frank Duveneck’s painting,The Boston Common (1890, oil on canvas, UR308), provides a great comparison to Hassam’s parkscape. Be sure to observe the painting hanging above the computer catalog near the circulation desk.

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Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

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To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or