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Dashes of blue and yellow invoke water and light in this atmospheric rendering of a New York street scene. The energy of Hassam’s strokes effectively masks any underlying structure, while the tightness of the composition and the close-set figures foster a sense of immediacy. We are simultaneously actors and spectators, stepping into the scene as the elegant couple on the canvas moves on. As Hassam remarked the year he painted it, “There is nothing so interesting to me as people. I am never tired of observing them in everyday life, as they hurry through the streets on business or saunter down the promenade on pleasure.” While Hassam’s painting glamorizes the New York of 1892, the year also heralded the opening of Ellis Island and the waves of immigrants beckoned by Liberty’s torch. Hassam resisted these grittier realities of urbanization, switching to landscape later in his career.
at lower right: "Childe Hassam / N.Y. 1891"
James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Collection
Rawles, Susan J. and Christopher C. Oliver. The James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Collection of American Art, A Promise Fulfilled (Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2015): pp. 70-71.
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