Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn factories’

A winter view of the Brooklyn Waterfront in 1934

September 2, 2014

I’m not exactly sure where this scene of a much more industrial Brooklyn waterfront is. WPA artist Harry Shokler painted it in 1934, in the middle of the Depression.

Titled simply “Waterfront—Brooklyn,” it shows us factories, smokestacks, trolleys, and diners . . . and it hasn’t resembled the Brooklyn waterfront for decades.

Henryshoklerwaterfront

“Many artists during the 1930s focused on laborers and industrial scenes to emphasize the value of hard work in pulling the country out of the Depression,” states the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where the painting hangs.

“The smoking chimneys, groups of workers, and tracks in the snow evoke a sense of activity and perseverance in the face of hardship. To Americans in the 1930s, the skyscrapers of New York symbolized the city’s achievements and sustained the hope that the country’s economy would recover.”

The tidy, empty backyards of 1920s Brooklyn

January 31, 2013

Painter Winthrop Turney was born in Brooklyn and lived there for most of his life. He found a worthy subject in the backyards of the row houses and tenements in the borough’s poorer neighborhoods.

Brooklynbuildingsfromrear

“Brooklyn Buildings From the Rear,” is above and “Brooklyn Backyards,” below. Both were done in the 1920s, and both depict the same shuttered houses and looming factory.

Brooklynbackyards

Turney was also fascinated with the Brooklyn waterfront, specifically the Erie Basin off Red Hook, once an industrial shipyard.

Some examples of his view of Brooklyn’s docks and ships can be seen here.


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