Is this painting from 1934 or 2013? Tompkins Square Park and the colorful row of buildings bordering it on East 10th Street have barely changed in 89 years in Saul Kovner’s “Tompkins Park, N.Y. City.”
Kovner was a Russia-born painter; like so many other struggling artists, he worked for the New Deal’s Public Works of Art Project in the 1930s.
“The PWAP encouraged their commissioned artists to capture ‘the American Scene,’ and in this painting Kovner conveys strong messages of community spirit and American values,” states the web site for the Smithsonian Institution, which owns this painting.
“Children and adults enjoy winter in the park, building snowmen and playing with sleds; the presence of the Stars and Stripes in the center of the work places this as a uniquely American scene.”