In his 1934 painting “Third Avenue,” precisionist Charles L. Goeller depicts a crisp, geometrical street corner, with the gray elevated train tracks and then the sleek Chrysler Building looming in the distance.
“The artist lived just a few doors east of this corner, yet his rendition of the familiar scene is strangely dreamlike,” states the website of the Smithsonian Institute, which has “Third Avenue” in its collection.
“Like his fellow painters in the precisionist movement, Goeller stressed the clean geometry of the modern city. All elements of his painting direct attention to the rising spire of the Chrysler Building, a vision of an ideal future shaped by American engineering.”
“Such foreground details as trash lying by the curb and scarred red paint where a sign has been removed from a wall seem deliberately introduced to contrast with the flawless edifice in the distance.”
Tags: Charles L. Goeller artist, Chrysler Building paintings, Depression-era New York City, Gramercy Park 1930s, New York in the 1930s, Precisionist artists, Third Avenue El, WPA painters New York City