There’s not very much information out there on an artist named Louis Augier.
I’m not even sure he was actually in New York in the first half of the 19th century, the time period these depictions were supposedly created.
But his life-like, detailed images of the new city of New York (above, “New York in 1831,” showing St. Paul’s Chapel on Lower Broadway) in the 1810s through the 1850s are captivating.
In the absence of photos, they seem to tell us how upper-crust residents lived (below, Bowling Green in 1831).
No doubt these images are cleaned-up versions of the way the city really looked: there’s no trash in the streets, no poverty, no problems bigger than a traffic jam.
Social realism they are not. Still, we see the fashions the city’s elite wore, the way their homes looked, and how they got around (those omnibuses in the top image look a little rickety).
And they seem to enjoy the same thing New Yorkers of today love doing: strolling along the streets of their neighborhoods, which look strangely similar now as it did then (above: City Hall, 1819).
Tags: Augier New York City, Augier painter, Augier paintings New York, Bowling Green 1830s, City Hall 1819, early New York City paintings, New York in the 19th Century, vintage paintings of Bowling Green City Hall Broadway