This busy cityscape of Scollay Square in Boston, MA was done by American artist Harry Irving Shumway (1883-1974). Harry graduated from Brighton High School, Boston, MA in 1901 and attended Art Students League of New York, in New York City. He worked as an illustrator for Doubleday, Page & Co in New York, but returned to Boston where he became part of the editorial staff of House Beautiful magazine.
When you exit the train at North Station in Boston and walk downtown to Government Center, remember that the area did not always consist of bland, faceless buildings. It was once a bustling, vibrant neighborhood where people interacted rather than staring at small screens. Shumway captured that for us: The Scollay Square theatre, the Rialto, the Strand (playing Clara Bow in “Hula”), the Lun Ting and Shanghai Restaurants, the dubious Crawford House, and a host of small businesses from dentists to tattoo parlors that constituted a lively, interesting commercial neighborhood. The painting is not only a time capsule - it is a lesson in ill conceived “urban renewal”. While other artists were painting the swan boats, Shumway felt the charm of Old Scollay and created this unique panorama of a world now gone. A rare topographical view of the real Beantown of the Twenties.
Oil on panel, signed lower right, and housed in a giltwood frame. Dimensions: 28" h x 45 1/2" w, sight; 33 1/2" h x 52" w, framed.
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