Posts Tagged ‘NYC in the Gilded Age’

The Gilded Age beauty of the Sixth Avenue El

October 5, 2020

Last week, Ephemeral New York created a post around a moody, magical nocturne of an elevated train on the move in 1938 Manhattan. The artist is Jack Lubin, a WPA painter whose work reflected the Art Deco/Modern style that took shape during the Depression.

“The El, New York (Sixth Avenue El-Nocturne)” by Childe Hassam, 1895

Almost 50 years earlier, Childe Hassam also painted a Manhattan elevated train making its way through the cityscape. In his vastly different Impressionist style, Hassam gives us a nocturne of the Sixth Avenue El under the blue glow of Gilded Age New York.

“Created during the artist’s most prolific and creative period, The El, New York (Sixth Avenue El–Nocturne) is emblematic of the artist’s quintessential 1890s style with its loose, yet controlled, brushstrokes conveying the energy and motion of the city,” wrote Christie’s in 2018, when this wondrous painting was up for sale. “Pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages occupy the wide street as the El Train passes on the left. The smoke from the train billows into the night sky, already lit by the glowing orange and yellow streetlamps.”

Two very different paintings with the same theme, both enchanting and hypnotic in their own ways.