Looking at the new bridge at Blackwell’s Island

Does any painter capture the raw, gritty energy of turn-of-the-century New York City like George Bellows?

This painting, “The Bridge, Blackwell’s Island,” was completed in 1909, not long after the Queensboro Bridge opened, solidifying the modern metropolis.

Georgebellowsthebridgeblackwellsisland

“The artist depicted the bridge from an unusually low angle to convey its overwhelming scale: the bridge’s stone piers dominate the canvas as they rest solidly on Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island),” states the Toledo Museum, where the painting hangs.

“Bellows’ signature bold, swift brushstrokes recreate a steamboat’s struggle against the river’s natural force, while the gritty cityscape dissolves into a haze of mud-colored paint.”

“In the shadowed foreground stands a group of engrossed onlookers, peering through the railing at a rapidly changing modern American city.”

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One Response to “Looking at the new bridge at Blackwell’s Island”

  1. Painting prewar New York from the outside in | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] from 1912, the painting at the top of the page, is one such example. The majesty of the relatively new bridge (only three years old here) takes center stage, but the monolithic city looms behind […]

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