Twentieth Century Urban Imagery of New York City Essay

Twentieth Century Urban Imagery of New York City
A discussion of whether the imagery that artists in the twentieth century used to portray New York City was manipulated by the artists or were more documentary in nature.
# 26750 | 795 words | 3 sources | APA | 2003 | US

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As America developed in the nineteenth century, large cities sprang up across the nation. In particular, by the twentieth century with the help of an influx of immigration, New York City had become a bustling city with well over one million people. Opinions on the quality of city life were mixed, especially among artists. This paper refutes the arguments put forth by cultural historian, Alan Trachtenberg, in his book "Reading American Art", that artists, specifically photographers like Alfred Stieglitz, manipulated their art to convey their individual feelings toward the big city. The paper argues that Trachtenberg unfairly groups all artists that presented urban imagery into the same category. The photography Trachtenberg refers to differs substantially from other photographers and painters that portrayed city life. The paper includes several reproductions of photographs and paintings.

From the Paper:

"However, most often, the Ashcan artists focused on the city as a collection of individual "microneighborhoods" 4 rather than a larger entity. This differs again from Trachtenberg's assertion that the city is most often depicted as picturesque. Again, by inserting people into the picture, the picturesque nature is lost. In comparing Sloan's A Woman's Work to Hine's Playground in a Tenement Alley there are parallels that can be drawn. Both show low class tenements with their laundry hanging out to dry over an alley. Sloan's painting portrays the house work that women must do and suggests that the woman is the one who keeps the house in order. Hine's photo proposes that while the children live in a run down rookery tenement, they are quite satisfied playing baseball."

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APA Format

Twentieth Century Urban Imagery of New York City (2003, May 15) Retrieved June 05, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Twentieth Century Urban Imagery of New York City" 15 May 2003. Web. 05 June. 2023. <>