Posts Tagged ‘Ashcan painters’

The fantasy of window shopping in New York City

September 23, 2019

When Ashcan artist Everett Shinn painted this woman seemingly spellbound by the stylish mannequins behind a department store window, the concept of “window shopping” was a relatively new phenomenon.

Shinn completed the painting, simply titled “Window Shopping,” in 1903. It perfectly captures the consumerism ushered in by the rise of the Gilded Age city’s magnificent emporiums, where the latest fashions were on display on the Flatiron and Chelsea streets that once made up Ladies Mile.

“Shinn may have appreciated the way shop windows, like the vaudeville stage, created a fantasy space that functioned also as a site of cultural exchange,” art consultant Janay Wong explained on a Sotheby’s page focusing on the painting.

“Moreover, he may have been drawn to the ‘modernity’ of the shop window, which had only recently come into being, the result of new technologies that made possible the production of plate glass, colored glass, and electric light.”

Hanging laundry on a New York tenement roof

April 6, 2015

John Sloan sure had a thing for painting rooftops.

“Red Kimono on the Roof,” from 1912, is just one of many Sloan paintings depicting the view from a roof, or featuring women hanging laundry or catching a breeze from the top of a tenement.

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“This unglorified glimpse of a woman hanging laundry was probably painted from Sloan’s studio window,” states the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s website.

Railcars and rain along the Hudson River

December 23, 2013

George Bellows‘ “Rain on the River,” from 1908, depicts the gray Hudson and its smoky railroad high above Riverside Park under a foreboding sky.

Georgebellowsrainontheriver

“His view from a rockly ledge above Riverside Park surveys a freight train making its way along the New York Central’s famous Water Level Route,” states the caption to this painting, which belongs to the Rhode Island School of Design museum.

“The string of railcars echoes the rushing diagonal that marks the near bank of the Hudson River. Aggressive brushstrokes indicate reflective surfaces that are animated by graphic observations: a lone pedestrian scurries acros a rain-slicked path, and a horse-drawn cart awaits a delivery of scavenged coal.”

The caption goes on to say that Bellows considered this one “one of my most beautiful things.”

Skinny dipping off a broken East River pier

June 28, 2013

George Bellows always seems to have such empathy for his subjects, especially poor street kids—like the ones in his 1907 painting 42 Kids.

Bellows42kids

In a review of a recent Bellows show in London, a reviewer from The Guardian wrote this:

“[In 42 Kids] Bellows swiftly tallies the figures—’kids’ not ‘lads’ or even ‘boys’—suggesting their closeness to a litter of cubs or pups—who use a derelict pier as the diving board from which they hurl themselves into one of Manhattan’s turbid rivers.”