(American, 1847-1911)
The Filling in of Back Bay
signed A.M. Curtis, l.r.
sight: 11 1/2 x 16 1/2 in., frame: 19 1/2 x 24 1/2 in.

Other Notes: As an early woman painter in Boston and student of William Morris Hunt and Frank Duveneck, Alice Marion Curtis was a familiar face in the exhibition arenas of the city. She belonged to the Boston WCC as well as the NYWCC, and exhibited at the National Academy of Design from 1875-79.

This watercolor is historically significant for its depiction of the reclaiming of the bay to form Boston's Back Bay, a process which took over 50 years with 3,500 rail cars from Needham and other towns transporting gravel to the site. Noted historian and author, Anthony Sammarco, has dated the painting circa 1875-1880. Hes states, "As the dome [of the Massachusetts State House] is gilded, the painting has to be after 1874 when it was first gilded." According to Sammarco, the location is most likely "looking towards the east and probably the beginnings of the Muddy River Development."

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