Schooled in the European academic tradition, Grant brought to his canvasses an intelligent and disciplined feeling for composition, form, and color, all elements on display in Cape Ann Street Scene. The painting demonstrates Grant’s dexterity for rendering the play of sunlight and shadow on the figures and road in the foreground, while simultaneously interpreting the distant buildings in a more atmospheric manner.
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In addition to Cape Ann’s fishermen often peopling his coastal paintings, Grant was fond of capturing the region’s other residents going about their daily lives, such as the produce vendor delivering his harvest and the mother and child out for a walk on a warm day. While Grant continued to work in a realistic manner throughout his life, he was not opposed to looking at modern art for inspiration. In 1957 he wrote, “[I] am not averse to many of the new things in art but look for the best that is in them and forward to the time when the two schools of painting will be more closely related. I feel that each individual should paint as the spirit moves him without any restrictions.” The carefully placed strokes of color that came to epitomize Grant’s method of working illustrate his openness to experimentation.
 C. J. Bulliet, “Artists of Chicago Past and Present, No. 46, James Jeffrey Grant,” uncited newspaper clipping, Chicago Public Library, Art Files.
Private collection, Minnesota, until 2022