Posts Tagged ‘Subway painting’

Stealing glances in a Depression-era subway car

February 18, 2013

“In this painting Lily Furedi boldly did something that few dare to do: she looked at people on the subway,” states the Smithsonian Institute of Furedi’s 1934 work, plainly titled “Subway.”

Lilyfuredisubway1934

“She took the viewpoint of a seated rider gazing down the car at her fellow passengers. The Hungarian-born artist knew of the subway riders’ customary avoidance of staring at one’s fellow riders; most people in her painting keep to themselves by hiding behind a magazine or newspaper, or by sleeping.”

“Those who violate the unwritten rule do so furtively. A woman takes a quiet sidelong glance at the newspaper read by the man next to her, while a man steals a peek at a young woman applying lipstick. Only two women in the foreground, who obviously know each other, dare to look directly at each other as they talk companionably.”