|Gertrude Beals Bourne, American (1868-1962), daughter, sister, wife, mother, gardener, traveler—but most of all, “artist”, lived a long and productive life. Her first visits to exhibitions in Boston would have been to view the later Hudson River School and traditional landscape artists. Her travels to France in the 1880s and 1890s would have introduced her to a broad range of French painting, especially Impressionism. Her own teachers in Boston and New York, Henry W. Rice and Henry B. Snell introduced her to increasingly modern styles in watercolors. In her later life she aknowledged Abstract Expressionism. |
Bourne exhibited in most of the New England and national watercolor venues from the 1890s through the 1940s. Her exhibited watercolors form a descriptive catalogue of her travels throughout New England, Europe, North Africa, the Carribean islands, New York, D. C. and the American South. She also visited French Canada, the Canadian Rockies, the American West and Hawaii.
With her architect husband, Frank Augustus Bourne, she reshaped and reformed the culture of her own neighborhood, Beacon Hill in Boston. They shared an interest in historic architecture, architectural preservation, gardens, and landscape gardening. She founded the Beacon Hill Garden Club.
This exhibition explores the varied subjects that catalogue the interests of this vital and dynamic woman who, while very much a fixture in Boston society, clearly self-identified as an artist. Her grand-daughter remembered that in Gertrude’s later years she stated that she was first and foremost an artist: “That’s what I do...I am an artist.” Her grand-daughter continued: ”She was an artist first and foremost. That I am sure of. And she took it very seriously. It was her raison d’ętre.”
Tufts University Art Gallery is now exhibiting: "An Artist's Sense of Place: The Watercolors of Gertrude Beals Bourne". This exhibition is presented by the Tufts University Museum Studies Program. Click on the following link for details.