A “glorious natural scene” along the East River

Ashcan School artist Robert Henri painted many scenes of New York at the turn of the last century. Like other social realists, Henri’s focus was the gritty reality of urban life—but he also depicted the beauty of the cityscape in quieter, gentler moments.

In his 1901-1902 painting, “Cumulus Clouds, East River,” we get Henri’s gentler Manhattan. Here he “transforms the industrial landscape of the riverside into a glorious natural scene, the boats dotted on the shining expanse of the water suggesting freedom and pleasure rather than commerce and labor,” states A Companion to Art.

Henri had a particularly intimate view of the river. At the time, he lived in a brownstone at 512 East 58th Street, which would have been in the middle of the industrial waterfront. It’s long since been replaced by a luxury coop on rebranded Sutton Place.

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9 Responses to “A “glorious natural scene” along the East River”

  1. A “glorious natural scene” along the East River | Real Estate Marketplace Says:

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  3. keenanpatrick424 Says:

    BEAUTIFUUL.Take me to the river

  4. Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk Says:

    Ah, the beauty of old Manhattan streets, what wonders that surrounds them, now gone forever…

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Agree! This one feels unlike other Henri paintings

  6. Caitlin Henningsen Says:

    Please share the location of the painting.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I’m unsure of the location; my guess is near Henri’s home at the time, the East River off the east 50s.

  7. MizScarlettNY Says:

    …when the East River was accessible to residents, before the East Side Drive fenced them in.

  8. David H Lippman Says:

    This painting is lovely…it reminds me of “The Fighting Temeraire.”

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