Posts Tagged ‘Francis Criss’

Bold shapes and colors of a 1930s El station

January 23, 2014

Francis Criss’ “Third Avenue El” depicts an austere elevated station in 1933 devoid of people and trains. The coolness of the design contrasts with the warmth of colors.

ThirdavenueelCriss

Criss, usually described as a precisionist painter, created Depression-era urban cityscapes marked by bold colors and geometric shapes.

The subjects of these two downtown New York paintings still look the same almost a century later.

A 1930s painter’s stark, austere New York City

August 2, 2012

“I attempt to capture the layers and depth of the city’s environment, not paint it brick by brick,” stated painter Francis Criss.

The cleanness of his work is in stark contrast to Depression-era New York’s poverty and uncertainty.

Both City Landscape (1934), above, and Astor Place (1932), below, have the sharply defined geometric forms and austere, almost sanitized look characteristic of the Precisionist painters.

The Precisionists emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, and they focused on the urban landscapes of a growing, industrialized nation.

His style won’t resonate with everyone. But his New York street scenes—one of two nuns standing in front of today’s Kmart, the other of the Port Authority Building rising on lower Eighth Avenue—are instantly recognizable 80 years later.