Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

Top 20 Greatest NYC Paintings — #17

Park on the River by William James Glackens

03-08 Park on the River

The turn of the 20th century was as important and tumultuous a time for William James Glackens as for the city of New York. Newly returned from Europe and eager to make his mark, Glackens allied himself with Ashcan Realism at about the time of the Great Consolidation. In this painting, we can see the dark, gloomy view of what should be an idyllic park scene on the East River. But, across the water, we can also see the backbreaking industrial atmosphere of a newly subjugated Brooklyn. The dreary nature of the painting is unique to its time in Glackens’ career. As New York grew accustomed to the consolidation, so did he. And, ten years later, he was painting brighter, cheerier, more colorful works (such as Italo-American Celebration, Washington Square) that earned him the title, “the American Renoir”.

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