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.
[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?]
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]