Posts Tagged ‘ashcan school artists’

Walking through rainy Union Square in 1912

March 21, 2013

Looking at John’s Sloan’s foreboding “Spring Rain” makes me feel as if I’m right behind this woman as she walks the slick pavement of an almost empty city park.

Johnsloanspringrain

That’s exactly the point. “In his 1912 painting Spring Rain, he placed the viewer on a wet path in Union Square by filling the lower edge of the picture—the front edge of the picture plane—with rain-soaked pavement,” writes Nancy Mowll Mathews in Moving Pictures.

“Then Sloan moved the journey diagonally up through the painting as the path recedes into the space of the park. We too seem to be standing on the walkway watching the back of a young lady as she moves though the park. Through the artist’s hand the viewer experiences what it is like to cross the empty park in the mist of a spring rain.”

Red stockings: a fad at the time?

Little sledders enjoying Central Park in winter

February 6, 2013

In his 1905 painting “Central Park, Winter,” Ashcan School artist William Glackens “portrays a group of well-behaved children sledding down a gentle slope in New York’s Central Park under the watchful eyes of adults who dot the perimeter of a snowy knoll,” states the website for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Centralparkinwinter

“The children are warmly dressed and the adults are fashionably clothed, signaling that this is a story of middle-class recreation.”

“Despite their nominal commitment to telling the unvarnished truth about modern life and urban hardship, Glackens and other Ashcan artists viewed their world through rose-colored glasses, presenting the city euphemistically and, as here, depicting people at leisure in quasi-rural surroundings rather than in their overcrowded home neighborhoods.”

Glackens often painted winter scenes in the city. Here he capture more fashionably dressed women and children on a slushy day in Washington Square Park.

A fresh blanket of snow on a New York block

January 22, 2012

Robert Henri painted “Snow in New York” in 1902. Writes the National Gallery of Art, where the painting hangs:

“Henri’s Snow in New York depicts ordinary brownstone apartments hemmed in by city blocks of humdrum office buildings. This calm, stable geometry adds to the hush of new-fallen snow.

“The exact date inscribed—March 5, 1902—implies the canvas was painted in a single session. Its on-the-spot observations and spontaneous sketchiness reveal gray slush in the traffic ruts and yellow mud on the horsecart’s wheels.”

“The Green Car” in Washington Square, 1910

December 22, 2011

Painter William Glackens didn’t have to go far to create this depiction of Washington Square at the turn of the last century.

He and his wife moved to 3 Washington Square North in 1904, and he had a studio at 50 Washington Square South.

“In The Green Car, a view to the north from his studio window, Glackens suggests this transition from old to new,” states the caption to this painting at metmuseum.org.

“In the background is a glimpse of “The Row,” the elegant red-brick, Greek Revival houses that had been built along Washington Square North in the 1830s and 1840s for some of New York’s most prominent old families.”

“In the foreground, a fashionably dressed young woman hails a streetcar, powered by underground electrical cables, which was emblematic of modern developments.”

The pushcarts and peddlers of Houston Street

October 11, 2010

George Luks’ 1916 “Houston Street” shows a fiery, frenzied scene of buying and selling.

In a review of Luks’ work, a 1916 New York Times article gives kudos to some recent paintings, including this one of Houston Street, “blazing with Oriental color,” according to the Times.


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