A Gilded Age painter’s rainy, wintry New York

Cold rain and wet snow make it hard to get around New York on foot and take in its beauty. But damp weather like this was ideal for the Impressionist painters who lived and worked in the city at the turn of the last century.

With dark streets marked by puddles and tree branches heavy with water, the Gilded Age city glistened. The blurred faces of New Yorkers in black coats and hats came across as elusive and mysterious.

Carriages and street cars made their way through wet streets with passengers hidden and snug inside. Tall buildings higher than treetops and small walkup tenements alternate in the background.

Few painters revel in this rainy enchantment quite like Paul Cornoyer. Born in St. Louis in 1864, he came to New York at the tail end of the Gilded Age in 1899.

Cornoyer focused on Madison Square Park, at the time still a lovely spot in Manhattan but no longer than exclusive park of the city’s elite. The Flatiron building and Madison Square Park can be seen in the background of many of his paintings.

But he also visited other locations, like Columbus Circle, Central Park West (the site of the fourth painting above), Washington Square. His depictions of these and other streets and parks present us an atmospheric Gotham with soft, dreamlike contours.

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9 Responses to “A Gilded Age painter’s rainy, wintry New York”

  1. keenanpatrick Says:

    Very evocative.You can almost feel the damp cold air.

  2. A Gilded Age painter’s rainy, wintry New York ⋆ New York city blog Says:

    […] But he also visited other locations, like Columbus Circle, Central Park West (the site of the fourth painting above), Washington Square. His depictions of these and other streets and parks present us an atmospheric Gotham with soft, dreamlike contours. Source link […]

  3. A Gilded Age painter's rainy, wintry New York | News for New Yorkers Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate A Gilded Age painter’s rainy, wintry New York […]

  4. Tommy Dulski Says:

    Sublime! That last painting looks like some of Whistlers later work. The watered down oils on wood panel period, Great post!

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thanks! Feels appropriate for our rainy wet winter in NYC

  6. J Metz Says:

    Such beautiful paintings and beautiful prose to match. Thank you.

  7. Tom B Says:

    I think I watched the Macy’s Parade from that spot in the first picture.LOL
    The third painting above is the first time I ever saw a painting of the Flatiron Building from the side. It makes it looks ordinary. But you know what’s going on by the cow catcher kiosk and the curvy edge.

  8. David H Lippman Says:

    I love the Impressionists…these are great.

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