Cold rain and wet snow make it hard to get around New York on foot and take in its beauty. But damp weather like this was ideal for the Impressionist painters who lived and worked in the city at the turn of the last century.
With dark streets marked by puddles and tree branches heavy with water, the Gilded Age city glistened. The blurred faces of New Yorkers in black coats and hats came across as elusive and mysterious.
Carriages and street cars made their way through wet streets with passengers hidden and snug inside. Tall buildings higher than treetops and small walkup tenements alternate in the background.
Cornoyer focused on Madison Square Park, at the time still a lovely spot in Manhattan but no longer than exclusive park of the city’s elite. The Flatiron building and Madison Square Park can be seen in the background of many of his paintings.
But he also visited other locations, like Columbus Circle, Central Park West (the site of the fourth painting above), Washington Square. His depictions of these and other streets and parks present us an atmospheric Gotham with soft, dreamlike contours.