Posts Tagged ‘Paul Cornoyer’

A Gilded Age painter’s rainy, wintry New York

January 7, 2019

Cold rain and wet snow make it hard to get around New York on foot and take in its beauty. But damp weather like this was ideal for the Impressionist painters who lived and worked in the city at the turn of the last century.

With dark streets marked by puddles and tree branches heavy with water, the Gilded Age city glistened. The blurred faces of New Yorkers in black coats and hats came across as elusive and mysterious.

Carriages and street cars made their way through wet streets with passengers hidden and snug inside. Tall buildings higher than treetops and small walkup tenements alternate in the background.

Few painters revel in this rainy enchantment quite like Paul Cornoyer. Born in St. Louis in 1864, he came to New York at the tail end of the Gilded Age in 1899.

Cornoyer focused on Madison Square Park, at the time still a lovely spot in Manhattan but no longer than exclusive park of the city’s elite. The Flatiron building and Madison Square Park can be seen in the background of many of his paintings.

But he also visited other locations, like Columbus Circle, Central Park West (the site of the fourth painting above), Washington Square. His depictions of these and other streets and parks present us an atmospheric Gotham with soft, dreamlike contours.

Walking along Madison Square after the rain

September 9, 2016

I don’t know the name of this painting, but the artist, Paul Cornoyer, often depicted Madison Square and other well-traveled hubs of the Gilded Age city, especially after a rainstorm.

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Doesn’t look like Madison Square? It must be the arch and colonnades that are throwing things off. It’s all part of the Dewey Arch, erected at Fifth Avenue and about 25th Street for a parade honoring Admiral George Dewey, victorious in the Philippines in 1898.

The triumphant arch only stood for a year. After the 1899 parade, money was supposed to be raised to make the arch permanent—like Washington Square’s new marble arch. Instead, it was bulldozed in 1900.

Bare trees and gray skies in Washington Square

October 28, 2013

Impressionist-style painter Paul Cornoyer casts his eye toward Washington Square, turning an overcast, dreary-looking day in the park into a fleeting glimpse of ordinary life in turn of the century New York City.

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The view looks southeast—the bell tower of Judson Memorial Church is in the background; the fountain visible at left. The white loft building at the far left could be the Shimkin Hall, now part of New York University.

Cornoyer is a U.S. artist who trained in Paris; his paintings of Madison Square, Bryant Park, and Central Park, especially in the rain and at dusk, are atmospheric and magical.

A painter’s blurry, enchanting, elusive New York

February 28, 2013

Born in St. Louis in 1864 and trained in France, Paul Cornoyer made a name for himself in the late 19th century, painting landscapes and urban scenes in an impressionist style.

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“In 1899, with encouragement from William Merritt Chase, he moved to New York City,” states oxfordgallery.com.

Here he opened a studio, became associated with the Ash Can school, and for many years was a beloved art teacher at the Mechanics Institute.

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“Celebrated for his lyrical cityscapes and atmospheric landscapes, Paul Cornoyer crafted an indelible impression of fin-de-siècle New York,” explains this fine arts site.

[Above: “Winter Twilight Central Park”; below, “Flatiron Building”]

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Well-known in his day, his typically rainy, muted depictions of New York City sold well and earned him fame, particularly “The Plaza After Rain” (below) and “Madison Square in the Afternoon” (top).

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He’s not a household name, but his vision of a New York with soft edges and blurred borders still resonates—reflecting a moody city filled with mystery and enchantment.

“After the Rain” in Madison Square

April 24, 2010

Paul Cornoyer painted a darkened, rain-slicked Madison Square Park around the turn of the century.

Madison Square looks almost the same on a rainy evening more than a hundred years later, doesn’t it?