Collections of Distinction

Boston Artists

BostonArtistsThe Boston Artists Collection spans from 1940 to the present and focuses on works by artists who have lived in Boston, gone to school in Boston, or are represented by an art gallery in Boston. The collection consists of approximately 5,000 works by 600 artists, with subjects ranging from portraits, landscapes, and still lifes to abstract compositions based solely on color, line, and form. Although it primarily contains works on paper, the collection also includes paintings and artist’s books.

In addition to the works of individual artists, the collection houses the archives of many of the important printmaking studios and artist organizations that have driven, and still do drive, the creative activity of the Boston art community. Included are the archives of Impressions Workshop, the Experimental Etching Studio (now called Full Tilt Print Studio), and the Boston Printmakers.

In view of the rich history of Boston as a center of art in the 19th century, the Boston Public Library began to develop the collection in the 1960s in order to make a lasting contribution to preserving the cultural life and history of 20th-centruy Boston. At the time, no other Boston institution was committed to collecting the work of contemporary Boston artists. The library still has the largest and most in-depth contemporary Boston art collection.