The Under World (Primary Title)

Samuel Woolf, American, 1880 - 1948 (Artist)

ca. 1909-10
oil on canvas
United States
Unframed: 22 1/2 × 30 1/2 in. (57.15 × 77.47 cm)
Framed: 31 1/2 × 39 3/8 × 1 7/8 in. (80.01 × 100.01 × 4.76 cm)
This spirited depiction of turn-of-the-century urban commuters suggests the picturesque aesthetic of the Ashcan group. Similar to the popular imagery of those better-known artists, The Under World reveals afascination with public and private life in the modern metropolis. Also like the Ashcan painters, Samuel Woolf began his career as an artist-journalist—“with a strong sense of drama, of realism”; he later specialized in portraits of presidents and celebrities. Woolf ’s vivid portrayal of urban characters—the “showgirl” and her “protector,” messenger boy, immigrant family—examines the mixing of class, gender, and ethnicity that occurs on the New York subway (the Interborough Rapid Transit, orIRT), which opened its first line, between city hall and West 145th Street, in 1904.
signed, lower left: "S. J. Woolf"
Funds provided by a private Richmond foundation
Made in U.S.A.: l'Art Américain, 1908-1947, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, October 5 – December 31, 2001; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, January 17 – March 31, 2002; and Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montpellier, April 10 – June 25, 2002

New York: Two Different Perspectives, Beacon Hill Fine Art, New York, NY, September 22 – November 18, 1995

Panama–Pacific International Exposition of 1915, Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA, February 20 – December 4, 1915 (No. 2488)

160th Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, February 5 – March 26, 1911 (No. 454)

85th Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, NY, March 12 – April 17, 1910 (No. 329)
O’Leary, Elizabeth L., Sylvia Yount, Susan Jensen Rawles, and David Park Curry. American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Charlottesville: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with the University of Virginia Press, 2010. (Fig. 206, p. 370).

Eldredge, Charles, Charles Thomas Butler, William Underwood Eiland, Reed Anderson, and Stephanie J. Fox. Tales from the Easel: American Narrative Paintings from Southeastern Museums circa 1800-1950. Athens: University of Georgia Press with the Southeastern Art Museum Directors Consortium, 2004. Exhibition catalog. (Fig. 18, p. 35).

Charles Eldredge et al, Tales from the Easel American Narrative Paintings from Southeastern Museums exhibition catalogue (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004) p. 35, b&w fig. 18.

de Chassey, Eric., ed. Made in U.S.A.: L'art american, 1908 - 1947. Paris: Reunion des Musées Nationaux; New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2002. (illus. p. 44).

Made in USA L’art Américain, 1908-1947 exhibition catalogue (Paris: Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001) color ill. p. 44.

Ramirez, Jan Seidler. "New Century Cityscapes Or, Painting the 'New Metropolis.'" Culturefront: A Magazine of the Humanities: Gotham at 100 6, no. 3 (Winter 1997-98): 136-137, 141-142, Fig. 5 on p. 136).

Curry, David Park. "Shopping, Collecting, Remembering: Some Turn-of-the-Century American Pictures." The International Fine Art Fair Directory, 1996. (p. 12 - 13, Fig. 11).

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Annual Report 1995-96. Richmond, Va.: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1996. (cover illustration).

Giorello, Sibella C. "Museum opens its gifts." Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 15, 1995, C3 (illus.).

New York: Two Different Perspectives. New York: Beacon Hill Fine Art, 1995. Exhibition catalog (illus. on back cover).

Trask, John Ellingwood Donnell and J. Nilsen Laurvik. Catalogue Deluxe of the Department of Fine Arts, Panama-Pacific International Exposition. San Francisco: Paul Elder and Company Publishers, 1915. (No. 2488, p. 197).
©artist or artist’s estate

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