Pastel and watercolor on board
Museum purchase, 1950.296
The crush of people out on a busy street after dark attests to New York’s reputation as a constantly bustling metropolis—the “city that never sleeps.” With horns in their hands, people are moving rapidly to spread the news or to celebrate, guided by electric streetlamps. The cold breeze carrying snow flurries is indicated by swirling streaks of white.
Shinn was formerly a newspaper sketch artist, which forced him to rapidly take down images in the moment. He transferred this skill to the medium of pastel, which allowed him to add a sense of immediacy with quick lines, embellished later with rich colors. Shinn fully embraced the urban environment in his art, similar to the other Ashcan School artists. However, he was more intrigued than most of his colleagues by the glamorous uptown life and theater lights, using them as themes in many of his artworks.