Frederick James Boston (1855-1932)

  • Casting the Rod, c. 1885
  • Oil on canvas
  • 20 x 16 inches
  • Signed lower right

Boston was widely-known throughout the region in this period for his figure paintings of children and young women in colorful frocks participating in leisure activities, such as reading or sewing. In describing a painting of a young woman “enveloped in sable fur” from 1891, a critic celebrated the depiction of her “charming chin” and “sweet oval face, delicate in outline, with its arched brows and dark fringed lashes, from under which looked forth eyes full of beauty and character.” A similar delicacy is evident in the facial features of the young girl sitting in a rowboat in Casting the Rod. While the serene landscape of the tranquil pond and leafy tree behind the girl is painted in sketchy, impressionistic brushstrokes, Boston pays particular attention to the subject’s clothing –the pale yellow of her bodice is set against the vibrant red of a skirt patterned with thin yellow vertical stripes. The artist’s interest in texture and fabric is emphasized in the translucency of her red skirt that shows the outline of her petticoat, as well as in the delicate swiss dots that pattern the sheer white kerchief around the neckline of her bodice. As she gazes down to bait her hook, the young girl exudes an air of contentment that is similar to Boston’s contemporaneous paintings of women and children at leisure.

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Boston, Frederick James-Casting the Rod-framed.jpg
Frederick James Boston Casting the Rod Unframed