In this haunting, surreal oil on canvas painting, a train platform rises above assembled automobiles that are parked below a bridge in this transportation minded urban cityscape. At the top, a seemingly living cathedral rises into the night. Captured with oils on canvas in a dark haunting color palette, the dramatic impasto technique is impressive and everything we love about American art of this period. The painting has been cleaned and is framed in a handsome rough-hewn Larson-Juhl wood frame that accents the painting well. Signed and dated 1948 in the lower right corner.
From an east coast estate auction, this is part of a previously unseen collection of American Impressionist oil paintings dating to the 1940s and executed in a WPA, Regionalist, and often times stark urban modernist design aesthetic. These are the work of the important American photo-journalist Alfred Statler, who was active in New York City from the post-war era until the 1970s. His name is most often associated with the booming modern art scene of the 1950s and 1960s, and in particular with Andy Warhol’s early gallery exhibitions. Along with his work on assignment for publications like TIME magazine, Statler was an exhibited fine art photographer, drawn to the bustling street scenes of New York. This interest in the life of the city is on display both in this painting and others we will be offering.
Statler began his art career as a student of Fernand Léger, the cubist master, and these early works exhibit both the influence of cubism and America’s WPA movement. Never before seen, many of these paintings capture the urban eccentricities of life in New York City, with pronounced industrial machine age imagery.