Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

Top 20 Greatest NYC Paintings — #7

A Winter Wedding—Washington Square by Fernand Lungren

03-23 A Winter Wedding Washington Square

Unlike many of the artists in this series, Fernand Lungren spent very little time in New York, and is best remembered for his lush depictions of the desert and the American Southwest, in the California Plein-Air Painting School. But he had started as an illustrator for Harper’s during the Golden Age of American Illustration, and frequently came back to New York for short stays. One such visit yielded this departure from the wide, grand, natural vistas that made his name. Even without the Washington Square Arch – still new at the time – prominently displayed at the top of the picture, there could be no doubt that this wedding took place on the elite, privileged north side of the park (rather than the scrappy, Bohemian south side). The furs, the silk hats, and the red-and-white row houses treat us to an image of Henry James’ or Edith Wharton’s New York. But added is the romantic perspective of an outsider.

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