Joseph H. Boston (1860–1954)

From Shore to Shore, 1885

Oil on canvas, 27 5/8 x 35 5/8 in. (70.2 x 90.5 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.13

Joseph H. Boston painted landscapes, genre scenes, and portraits. From Shore to Shore places the viewer in the saloon of a ferry whose passengers come from several social and economic backgrounds. This was one of many ferries that shuttled between Manhattan and Brooklyn, which was a separate municipality until its 1898 incorporation into New York City. As a resident of Brooklyn who participated in such Manhattan institutions as the National Academy of Design, the artist was quite familiar with the short trip across the East River. His focus on the cross section of passengers randomly gathered here evinces artists’ growing interest in urban subjects during this period, when unprecedented population density and modern technologies gave rise to new spaces for social encounter, such as public-transit boats and parks.

Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.