Reflection

Today marks the 16th anniversary of 9/11, and as we take a moment to remember those who were lost, we reflect on the resilience of our American cities as they are celebrated in our Museum collection.

This work by C. Bertram Hartman celebrates the vibrant energy of New York City almost one hundred years ago. It captures the dynamism of the city and New York’s energetic expansion, which was as palpable then as it is today.

C. Bertram Hartman, New York Skyline, c. 1930, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth M. and Duncan E. Boeckman, 2005.89.2

The painting includes a campanile-type tower, shown in the central-upper-left, that is likely the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower, already a “historic” skyscraper in 1930, when this work was completed. Hartman was a native of small-town Kansas and trained in Chicago, Munich, and Paris. Munich-trained artists are often identifiable based on their muted color palettes, as opposed to the exaggerated colors of the French movements. This energetic landscape of buildings and their harsh shadows is a visual approach that we still associate with the characteristics of New York City. Hartman would have been familiar with Cubism and its numerous Synthetic Cubist inheritors, and in the case of this NYC scene, he uses this type of geometrical arrangement of the buildings. The application of fractured perspectives on an urban view champions that fast pace and spirit of excitement.

Skye Malish-Olson is the Exhibition Designer and Emily Schiller is the Digital Collections Content Coordinator at the DMA.


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