Posts Tagged ‘paintings of New York City’

A little girl’s enchantment with Gramercy Park

September 9, 2013

George Bellows’ 1920 painting Gramercy Park explodes with light and color. It’s a park he knew well; he and his family lived around the corner on East 19th Street.

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“The central figure in white is Bellows’s older daughter Anne and situated just behind her in a purple frock is [second daughter] Jean,” states Christies.com.

“Bellows, in the present work depicts the corner of the park bordering Gramercy Park South and Gramercy Park West. The columns that make up the imposing Tuscan facade of the theater club known as The Players located next to the National Arts Club at 16 Gramercy Park West are just visible along the left edge of the composition.

“Facing the viewer in the background beyond the iron fence are the row of brownstones that line Gramercy Park West.”

The very humble beginnings of Union Square

February 23, 2013

Behold the sparse, lonely junction of Broadway and the Bowery at 14th Street, as well as the patch of green in the foreground that marks the southern end of today’s Union Square.

This is how the square appeared to New Yorkers who ventured up this far from the center of the city in 1828—no big box stores, no M14 bus, no NYU students milling around.

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Amazing, right? Artist Albertis Del Orient Browere painted it from memory in 1885, according to Painting the Town, a book produced by the Museum of the City of New York.

In 1828, Union Square was called Union Place. “The building boom that would bring fine residences, elegant hotels, exclusive boarding schools, and subsequently, theaters and commercial enterprises to the square lay twenty years in the future,” the book says.

“Union Place, first called the Forks to describe the junction of the Bowery, Broadway, and University Place at 14th Street, originated as a burial ground for indigent people. As the city continued to grow, the cemetery was transformed into a park, making Union Square a desirable location for those wealthy New Yorkers who constituted the vanguard of the northward migration.”

Fashionable women at a Chop Suey restaurant

January 16, 2012

Edward Hopper’s 1929 painting Chop Suey is a reminder of a much older New York, when this dish was advertised in neon outside Chinese restaurants around the city.

“These fashionable women are dining at a modest Chinese restaurant not unlike one the Hoppers frequented,” writes the National Gallery of Art.

“Characteristically, Hopper depicts a moment before or after the main event—here, the meal—takes place. Also typical is the isolation and ambiguous relationship between the figures: it is not clear whether the dining companions are even looking at or conversing with one another.”

“Afternoon by the sea at Gravesend Bay”

April 20, 2011

Cape Cod? Chesapeake Bay? England? France? It’s actually Gravesend, the town settled by British Quakers in Southern Brooklyn, as depicted in 1888 by painter William Merritt Chase.

Lovely and peaceful, isn’t it? I have no clue what block in today’s Gravesend this location would correspond to. But Gravesend Bay extends into lower New York Bay, and that’s either Staten Island or New Jersey in the distance.

“Twilight in New York”

January 10, 2011

I’m not sure where this is, but Italian-American painter Alessandro Guaccimanni lived near Madison Square in the 1890s.

This ultra-fashionable neighborhood in Gilded Age New York is the setting of some of his other equally haunting and moody works. But it could be Union Square, even beside Central Park.

“After the Rain” in Madison Square

April 24, 2010

Paul Cornoyer painted a darkened, rain-slicked Madison Square Park around the turn of the century.

Madison Square looks almost the same on a rainy evening more than a hundred years later, doesn’t it?

A crowd forms on Sixth Avenue and 14th Street

October 20, 2009

“Ashcan School” artist John Sloan really had a thing for the Sixth Avenue El. Several of his paintings depict the El at Third Street or Eighth Street; Jefferson Market Courthouse can often be seen in the distance.

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Here he highlights the next stop on the El, at 14th Street. It’s still a major shopping crossroads. Currently a Starbucks and Urban Outfitters occupy the Southeast corner, past the “Shoes” marquee in the painting.

The building across the street with the pointed turret is still there. Down toward Seventh Avenue looms the Salvation Army headquarters, also still in existence.


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