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Sale 2512 Lot 157
(NEW YORK CITY.) Large bird's-eye view of New York City. Hand-painted photograph enlargement on paper mounted to period canvas and wooden dowels. Image size 35x43 1/2 inches; canvas size 37x48 inches; a few minor soft creases or scrapes but in general very well preserved. [New York, circa 1933]
Estimate $2,000 - 3,000
A truly unique artwork, this commanding view is an enlarged photostatic aerial snapshot of Manhattan looking north which has been meticulously hand-painted by the artist, highlighting every detail of the city and leaving virtually no part of the underlying photograph uncovered. The work is reminiscent of the bird's-eye views of New York popular in the mid-nineteenth century, though updated for the times with recently built bridges and Art Deco-style skyscrapers. There is a sense that the painting was originally created to be reproduced, perhaps in a magazine or advertisement, but we find no trace of an existing instance of its likeness.
Similar aerial photographs taken from the same vantage in 1933 compare favorably to the plan, especially noting the configuration and design of Battery Park. The RCA Building (i.e. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, completed in 1933) can be seen several blocks above the Empire State Building (completed 1931); to close the gap on a relative date of the painting, we look farther north to find the arched Hell Gate Bridge (1916) but no appearance of the Triborough Bridge (i.e. RFK Bridge, completed 1936).