The Greenwich Village vision of artist Alfred Mira

Alfred S. Mira and his realistic, gritty, intimate Greenwich Village street scenes should be better known.

[“Seventh Avenue, Greenwich Village”]


Born in 1900 in Italy to a carpenter father, he left school and began working for an interior decorator, dreaming of going to art school but without the 50 cents a day it cost to attend.

[“Washington Square Rally,” 1942]


He did make a career out of painting though; he listed his address as East 8th Street and his occupation as painter in the 1940 census. And he sold his work at the Washington Square outdoor art exhibit, a heralded event decades ago.

[“The El, View of Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street,” 1940]


Though he painted scenes from all over the city, Mira focused his work on the sites and monuments of Greenwich Village: the Washington Arch, MacDougal Street, and Seventh Avenue South.

His inspiration seems to come from the urban realists who made a name for themselves in the early 1900s, such as George Bellows and George Luks.

[Title unknown, but there’s Jefferson Market in the background]


But his style is his own: honest, sometimes gritty, sometimes dreamy, and deeply atmospheric—a true street artist who captured the moods of the city.

[“Summer Morning”—anyone know what intersection this is?]


Alfredmiraselfportrait1934“Mira painted angled, bird’s eye viewpoints, thereby creating what one critic categorized as ‘moving camera eye impressions,’” explains gallery Questroyal Fine Art LLC.

He died in 1980 or 1981, depending on the source, and his work still inspires. It also still sells, with several paintings going for thousands of dollars at top auction houses.

[Self portrait, 1934]

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8 Responses to “The Greenwich Village vision of artist Alfred Mira”

  1. Peter Bennett Says:

    I’m guessing the intersection is 14th street and 5th ave, looking at the SE corner. I think that is 13th street in the background, it looks like the white one story building that housed the Lone Star Cafe and Schraffts before that.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Terrific eye, thanks. I know that Lone Star/Schraffts building and I can’t believe I didn’t recognize it. Sadly, it’s no longer there. This would be the site of the new New School building with the CVS on the ground level.

  3. ajs55 Says:

    Im going to make a wild guess for the intersection painting and say 14 and 5th since there is a double decker bus on 5th avenue. But the intersection has been greatly altered so it’s anyone’s guess

  4. Ben Says:

    Just for fun, I decided to see if I could pin down his death date. Records show he died in Boston on October 18, 1980.

  5. Nancy A Says:

    Summer Morning — I would guess Broadway/4th Street

  6. chung Says:

    Could be an impressionistic view of 5th Ave and 14th …similar (but not exact). Here is a view of 5th Ave and 14th St before:

  7. Lu Says:

    Actually fifty cents a day for art classes would be about $14.00 a day in 2015 or $280 a month. Lots of today’s young artists couldn’t afford that either, after paying rent at today’s rates!

  8. Robert Horansky Says:

    Here is another of his paintings of the exact same scene but a slightly different angle. You can still recognize old 13th street corner and in this image, you can see the arch in Wash Sq. Park…

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