A French artist’s moody, magical New York

Born in Paris in 1875, Charles Constantin Hoffbauer studied under top 19th century French masters and painted scenes all over Europe.


In New York on commission in 1906, he captured the city’s many moods: enchanting rain-slicked sidewalks in Times Square (below), the blue glow of twilight at Madison Square (above), and the festive lights blazing over a snow-covered Theater District (last painting).


Hoffbauer’s city is on the move. Pedestrians dart between automobiles, and horse-drawn carriages and cars navigate traffic jams. These scenes all look like the occur at twilight, that in-between time when the workday ends and evening entertainment begins.


These paintings were created between 1906 and 1927. Though he returned to his home country after his time in New York, Hoffbauer arrived in the U.S. for good in 1941, having escaped occupied France with an eye toward becoming an American citizen.

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15 Responses to “A French artist’s moody, magical New York”

  1. Lady G. Says:

    These are absolutely gorgeous. Now I know what kind of prints I want on walls. Thanks, Ephemeral NY!

  2. Michi of Delphina Luxe Says:

    The first painting is stunning.

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks! About the first painting, the blue is strangely warm to me, almost like Starry Night.

    • Lady G. Says:

      Yes, it does look like that. I love the rich reds and the way he paints the glitzy Time Square lights in the distance.

  4. notmsparker Says:

    Reblogged this on KREUZBERG´D.

  5. berlioz1935 Says:

    The pictures are beautiful, but have a Fench look about them.

  6. DGTX Says:

    Is there a place online where prints of these may be purchased? The blue painting is absolutely gorgeous!

  7. wildnewyork Says:

    Not that I know of, unfortunately. It is truly stunning though….

  8. Gretchen Hoffmann Abene Says:

    Thank you, lovely post.

  9. Nancy Blum Says:

    These are beautiful.

  10. Enchanting rainy nights in the Gilded Age city | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] images of a stormy, moody city can be found […]

  11. Blue Mirror Says:

    Gorgeous, thanks! (quibbling note — it’s Constantine — note the final “e”).

  12. Dining “among the rooftops” of New York in 1905 | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] would come to New York in 1909 and paint many enchanting, atmospheric landscapes street scenes that captured the city’s day and nighttime […]

  13. Capturing the magic of rainy nights in New York City | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] artists have captured this magic of a rainy New York night like Charles Hoffbauer. Born in France in 1875, Hoffbauer came to Gotham in the early 1900s, and with his Impressionist […]

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