A Midcentury artist’s storybook-like Central Park

If it’s been so long since you’ve walked through Central Park that you’ve forgotten how magical it is in the springtime, then let Adolf Dehn’s Midcentury lush and dreamy park paintings remind you.

Dehn, who started his artistic career as a lithographer of satirical scenes in the early 20th century, found more success as a New York City landscape painter in the 1940s and 1950s.


“Spring Blossoms, Central Park,” at top (exact date unknown), focuses on blooming leafs and love, perhaps, with couples lounging and walking in the forefront. “Central Park Stroll,” completed in 1942, above, gives us the park’s gentle, verdant hills and trees—with the Chrysler building and other skyscrapers surrounding the lawn like castles.

“Central Park,” from 1950, is a portrait of the park’s playful characters: strollers, dog walkers, boat rowers, and bench sitters. It’s a dollhouse-like miniature of the park at twilight, a reminder of the park’s dreamy enchantment. When the lockdown lifts, it’ll be waiting to greet you.

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8 Responses to “A Midcentury artist’s storybook-like Central Park”

  1. Mykola Mick Dementiuk Says:

    Yes, I certainly will be there!…well, in spirit, best I can do…

  2. beth Says:

    these are lovely

  3. Michael Leddy Says:

    I was lucky to see an exhibition of Dehn’s work in (of all places) Terre Haute, Indiana. His paintings there and here make me think of New Yorker covers and children’s books. Urban pastoral.

    One stroller in a Dehn painting of Battery Park looked to me like a dead ringer for Guillaume Apollinaire. I put a link to a photo behind my name if anyone wants to see it.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I can’t comment about the resemblance, but that is a lovely painting, one I haven’t seen before.

  4. Bill Wolfe Says:

    These are wonderful. Thank you. (FYI, there’s a ton of his stuff on ebay, much of it very reasonably priced. There’s a Central Park print that’s similar to these that I’d love to have, if I had the wall space.)

  5. countrypaul Says:

    These are outstanding, especially the center one. Thank you; I had no idea this gentleman existed. The paintings harken back to that I remember of New York in my 1/2-to-2/3-through-the-20th-century youth, when it was still _that_ New York.

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Glad you enjoy them! He’s a new artist to me, but I went down the rabbit hole looking at his landscapes and other illustrations. There’s a playfulness I really like, and a dreamy quality.

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