Published: April 2, 2002
NEW YORK CITY – For well over 350 years, people from all walks of life and from every part of the world have fallen in love with New York City. To celebrate its resiliency, raw energy, bravery and patriotic spirit, Joan Whalen Fine Art presents “Salute to New York City” through Saturday, May 4.
Evocative images of the city have served as subject and inspiration for generations of artists. Guy A. Wiggins (born 1920), one of the premier painters of New York, will present a special commemorative painting of American flags on Fifth Avenue titled “Salute to Old Glory” and will donate part of the proceeds of its sale to the families of World Trade Center victims.
The grandson of Carleton Wiggins (1848-1932) and the son of Guy C. Wiggins (1883-1962), Wiggins has the distinction of being a third generation American painter. (Other multigenerational American families are the Peales and the Morans in the Nineteenth Century and the Wyeths in the Twentieth Century.) Wiggins is also including in this exhibition his celebrated “Snowstorm Over the Flatiron Building,” “Autumn Evening at the Plaza,” “December in Central Park” and “Wollman Rink Looking East.”
Suzanne Hodes’s (born 1939) energetic images of New York are the culmination of 30 years of explorations with various media and subjects. When Hodes studied with the great Oskar Kokoschka in Austria, he believed views from the top of tall buildings gave an artist special vantage points – melding factual detail. Her lifelong affinity with New York is well-demonstrated in her dramatic oil – “View From the World Trade Center” – painted with special permission in 1988 from the 100th floor. “At the time, I was interested in big expansive spaces where I could see bridges and capture the city’s dramatic lights and the motion of the river,” Hodes said.
Hodes, who grew up in Manhattan, enjoys capturing the city’s movements and sounds that create a synthesis between direct observation of the urban landscape and her Expressionist, emotional response to it. In addition to her World Trade Center painting, Hodes’s work includes: “Toward the River,” “Hotel Window View” and “City View.”
Howard Lerner (born 1953) uses disturbing and fascinating iconographic images, such as his intense collage, “American Album,” to illustrate his personal and emotional reflection of New York after the World Trade Center attack. Lerner works this theme in a still life made up of the artist’s collection of antique postcards, toys and memorabilia to capture the symbols of the September 11 tragedy – an airplane, the New York City skyline, the soldier guarding a bridge and a black photo album that evoke the city’s somber mood. The violet background suggests a memorial and a salute to the city’s raw energy, bravery and patriotic spirit.
Lerner, who studied with Philip Guston in the mid-1970s, also depicts New York City through a symbolic wonderland of colors and compositions: a bank “Clocktower” becomes a provocative visual feast, “Erector Set” recalls the Coney Island roller coaster.
“Salute to New York City” also includes American masters Reginald Marsh (1898-1954) “Burlesque with Four Figures;” “Theresa Bernstein (born 1890) “Central Park,” circa 1926; William Meyerowitz’s (1887-1981) watercolors of Central Park; Isabel Bishop (1902-1988) “Ice Cream Cones,” George Bellows (1882-1925) “The Crowd” and Frederick S. Franck (1909-1998) “Times Square,” 1949, and G.H. Rothe (born 1935) “Ballet in New York.”
In Here Is New York, E.B. White wrote: “Manhattan has been compelled to expand skyward because of the absence of any other direction in which to grow. This, more than any other thing, is responsible for its physical majesty. It is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village – the visible symbol of aspiration and faith – the whiter plume saying that the way is up.”
“That is the spirit of this exhibition,” said Whalen.
Joan Whalen Fine Art, 24 West 57th Street, Suite 507, can be reached at 212-397-9700.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm