From a recent east coast estate auction, Grapefruit Moon Gallery is delighted to have acquired a previously unseen collection of American Impressionist oil paintings dating to the 1940s and executed in a WPA, Regionalist, and often times stark Ashcan School 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.
A sleepy NYC cityscape scene is captured with oils on canvas-board in a dark color palette in this work; with automobiles and a lone walking figure in the foreground creating an evocative moody regionalist scene – everything we love about American art of this period. The painting has been cleaned and is unframed, and is signed and dated “September 1946” in the lower corner on the verso as seen in detail above.