Tanagra (The Builders, New York)

images for Tanagra (The Builders, New York)
Gallery Label
In Tanagra (The Builders, New York), Childe Hassam painted an ambivalent image of modern life. At the turn of the twentieth century, the skyscraper symbolized all that was dynamic and powerful in America. Architects praised the new towers as symbols of mankind's reach for the heavens. But as the United States grew in power and prestige, the workers who provided the nation's muscle also seemed to threaten Hassam's orderly and prosperous world. The artist had won fame and fortune picturing New York for the delight of its moneyed class; the art, music, and fine manners surrounding this "blond Aryan girl" provided a buffer against the unruliness of America's immigrant society. If the skyscraper represents worldly ambition, the other vertical elements in the painting—the lilies, the Hellenistic figurine, the panels of a beautiful oriental screen—suggest a different kind of aspiration. But in 1918, the refined life this woman pursued in her elegant environment was already under attack by the reality of war and the clamor of a new century.
Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
Topic
Figure female\knee length
Object\art object\sculpture
Object\flower\rose
Object\furniture\screen
Object\flower\narcissus
Architecture Interior\detail\window
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Artist
Childe Hassam, born Dorchester, MA 1859-died East Hampton, NY 1935
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
58 3/4 x 58 5/8 in. (149.2 x 149.0 cm)
See more items in
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department
Painting and Sculpture
On View
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, East Wing
1918
Type
Painting
Object number
1929.6.63