The “chopped out” city from Greenwich Village

John Sloan depicts a moody Village set apart from the rest of the city in his 1922 painting “The City From Greenwich Village.”

In his notes, he had this to say about the setting, the light, and “chopped out” modern New York:

“Looking south over lower Sixth Avenue from the roof of my Washington Place studio, on a winter evening. The distant lights of the great office buildings downtown are seen in the gathering darkness. The triangular loft building on the right had contained my studio for three years before.

“Although painted from memory it seems thoroughly convincing in its handling of light and space. The spot on which the spectator stands is now an imaginary point since all the buildings as far as the turn of the elevated have been removed, and Sixth Avenue has been extended straight down to the business district.

“The picture makes a record of the beauty of the older city which is giving way to the chopped-out towers of the modern New York. Pencil sketch provided details.”

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7 Responses to “The “chopped out” city from Greenwich Village”

  1. Joe R Says:

    I just noticed that in this painting one can see in the middle distance the top of the old location of Our Lady of Pompeii. This was shown on a photo in your post about Minetta Lane, maybe a year ago or so. I think that the gabled inn-like building on the left foreground may have been the Golden Swan, a famous bohemian hangout in the early 20th century.
    Sloan made another painting of that same bend on the 6th Avenue El. That view is at street level from the other side of the bend, looking north on 6th Avenue. You could see the outline of the Jefferson Market Library in the distance.
    Sloan is terrific. I also like his paintings and prints made when he lived on 23rd Street in Chelsea (my neighborhood). In one of his prints of people on tenement rooftops, you can see in the distance the spire of St John the Baptist (on W 30th) and the old Penn Station just behind it.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    You have a great eye Joe R, thanks. The Minetta post generated a great deal of comments on whether it was Our Lady of Pompeii or St. Josephs:

    http://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/the-black-and-tan-clubs-of-minetta-street/

    I love Sloan’s work, which is probably obvious since I frequently post his paintings and prints here! I’m not very good at articulating why; I guess I just get his interpretation of the Village, and all of New York.

  3. mk Says:

    Beautiful painting by a great painter- Thanks!
    One of Sloan’s studios is still seen on the south side of Washington Square. Look for those big windows,and then go have a little something at Caffe Reggio.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    Caffe Reggio is wonderful, a treasure. I wish I were sipping a latte there now!

  5. Seen and Heard Around the Village 10.26.11: West Edition Says:

    [...] “chopped out” city from Greenwich Village (Ephemeral New [...]

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