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First artworks from Elie and Sarah Hirschfeld's promised gift now on view at the New-York Historical Society
William James Glackens (1870-1938), Early Spring, Washington Square, ca. 1910. Oil on canvas; 18 x 24 in. New-York Historical Society, Gift of the Elie and Sarah Hirschfeld Collection, Scenes of New York City, 2020.35. 2.

NEW YORK, NY.- The New-York Historical Society announced that the first artworks from philanthropists and art collectors Elie and Sarah Hirschfeld’s extraordinary promised gift have joined the Museum’s collection and are now on view.. Depicting New York locations still recognizable today, the works include The Boat Harbor (Gowanus Pier), ca. 1888, by William Merritt Chase; Early Spring, Washington Square, ca. 1910, by William James Glackens; Foggy Night, New York by George Luks, ca. 1900–1930; and Dredging in the East River, ca. 1879, by John Henry Twachtman. The full Hirschfeld collection is slated to be displayed at New-York Historical in fall 2021 in an exhibition featuring a who’s who of 19th- to 21st-century artists, including Isabel Bishop, Christo, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Keith Haring, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Sol Lewitt, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Norman Rockwell, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol, among others. Scenes of New York City: The Elie and Sarah Hirschfeld Collection—a fully-illustrated, 336 page catalogue—will be co-published by D. Giles Limited in February 2022 to accompany the exhibition.

“What a special way to start the new year as the first works from Elie and Sarah Hirschfeld’s collection go on view at New-York Historical,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “We remain so grateful to Elie and Sarah for their city-centric art gift, and look forward to sharing the entire collection with the public later this year.”

“As we get closer to Scenes of New York City opening at New-York Historical in the fall, Sarah and I are delighted to present these first works to the general public,” said Elie Hirschfeld. “These paintings in particular provide a unique glimpse of life in New York City in the late 19th and early 20th century that New Yorkers will still recognize.”

The catalogue, Scenes of New York City: The Elie and Sarah Hirschfeld Collection, features the 130 paintings and works on paper in the collection, capturing iconic views of New York City across a broad range of media. The book includes an interview with Elie Hirschfeld by Wendy N.E. Ikemoto, curator of American Art at New-York Historical, and an essay on the Hirschfeld Collection’s historical significance by Kenneth T. Jackson, Jacques Barzun Professor of History at Columbia University. Catalogue entries on each of the works were written by New-York Historical curators Roberta J.M. Olson, Wendy N.E. Ikemoto, and Marilyn Satin Kushner.

The Scenes of New York City collection comprises 130 artworks dating from the mid-19th through the 21st-centuries by significant American artists from movements specifically associated with New York City—such as the Ashcan School, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art—as well as a roster of leading international artists demonstrating their affinity for the city. William James Glackens, whose work Early Spring, Washington Square is part of the initial gift, was one of the founding members of “The Eight,” the seminal American artist group that became the foundation of the Ashcan School and was committed to an anti-establishment form of art rooted in contemporary urban life. The skills Glackens developed as an artist-reporter—rendering on-the-spot illustrations of breaking news for publications like the New York Herald—helped him to capture everyday metropolitan scenes with the spontaneity aligned with urban realism. The collection of paintings, works on paper, and sculpture includes 113 works by 82 artists not currently represented in New-York Historical’s collection.

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