Beauty and vitality at the Columbus Avenue El

Gifford Beal may not be as well-known as fellow Ashcan School artists John Sloan and William Glackens. But that makes discovering Beal’s enchanting impressionistic paintings such a joy.

“Elevated, Columbus Avenue, New York” was completed in 1916, and it’s likely an El stop near Beal’s own apartment, states the New Britain Museum of Art.

Bealcolumbusaveel

“Beal’s impressionistic rendering does indeed capture the ceaseless movement that invigorates city life,” states the museum website.

“His figures are carefully arranged dabs of color that lack precise detailing. Yet within this blur of activity, Beal offers small vignettes that humanize the anonymous crowd: a woman posts a letter, a top-hatted gentleman steadies his friend on the slippery walkway, a worker clears snow with a broom.”

“Whereas some artists of the day, such as the members of the Ashcan School, focused on the poverty and alienation that could be found within the city, Beal saw the beauty and vitality that existed there as well.”

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3 Responses to “Beauty and vitality at the Columbus Avenue El”

  1. pliny Says:

    hi, i have a foto of a painting of the elevated on 6th ave [?]
    by the artist Howard Daum more abstract than the ones you have featured but it is really great and detailed
    i would send it to you but i dont see a way to so that.
    you could contact me if you are interested in seeing it.

  2. Julia Benjamin Says:

    Beautiful. Change the clothes and this could be a scene from today.

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Absolutely, the painting captures the pulse and energy of the city as much as its look.

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