A New Year’s night in a wintry Gilded Age city

Frederick Childe Hassam painted his lovely and mysterious “New Year’s Nocturne” in 1892. He gives us a young urban couple bathed in brilliant light in the dark winter night.


He’s dressed to the nines in top hat and tails, and she looks elegant in winter white and furs. They’re part of the in crowd, the smart set. Maybe they’re returning from the theater. Perhaps they are on their way to a New Year’s party.

In the shadows, other couples go on their way. Meanwhile, these two have stopped in front of a shop window display. If only we could ask Hassam, one of the great painters of New York’s Gilded Age, what has given them pause.

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7 Responses to “A New Year’s night in a wintry Gilded Age city”

  1. Ruth Rogers Says:

    Here’s my little story – they’ve been to a party, he’s said something that has hurt her, they leave the party, they are walking… she is silent, he is trying to explain himself, she stops to stare into a shop window, he is still trying to make amends…

    Happy New Year and thanks for the great posts!

  2. ReadingOtherPeople Says:

    Reblogged this on Reading Other People.

  3. trilby1895 Says:

    This is magical and, oh, yes! I wish we could ask Mr. Hassam the source of his inspiration for this painting! I wish I could “follow” the couple on to the rest of their evening. I’m surprised to “discover” a painting by Hassam that I’d not seen before; he IS my favorite Impressionist painter and has been ever since seeing “Winter, Late Afternoon, New York”. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  4. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I love it too. He seems contrite; she is indifferent or pretending to be. The story of what’s going on in this scene could take many different directions….

  5. Ruth Rosenthal Says:

    I love this painting. Where is it hanging?

  6. Ruth Rosenthal Says:

    Beautiful painting. Where is it hanging?

  7. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    It’s part of a private collection

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