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George Bellows and New York, 1900–1930

Paul Burty Haviland
French, 1880–1950

New York at Night

Printed in Camera Work XLVI, April 1914 (published October 1914)
Gift of Walter A. Johnson, 1986.228

Taken from a neighboring roof, this aerial view of New York shows how once-towering churches were being dwarfed by newly constructed office and apartment buildings. Haviland photographed what appears to be the corner of Broadway and Wall Street with the historic Trinity Church in the foreground and the Brooklyn Bridge illuminated in the background. Several rows of smokestacks imitate the erect position of Trinity Church’s steeple, creating an interesting juxtaposition along the downtown skyline and revealing the industrial nature of Lower Manhattan.

However, both in title and style, Haviland deemphasizes the specific location of New York at Night. Instead he focuses on the beauty of the subject matter and on tonality by using soft focus and combining electric and natural light. The image appeared in the journal Camera Work, published by photographer Alfred Stieglitz, which highlighted this “Pictorialist” style (for more on Pictorialism, see Pennsylvania Station, p.19, by Karl Struss).