Skating in Central Park

image for Skating in Central Park
Exhibition Label
Agnes Tait had long wanted to make a large, festive painting of winter revelers in Central Park, but without a patron she could not take on this project. When the Public Works of Art Project gave her support in the winter of 1933-1934, the artist had her opportunity. As skaters and sledders flocked to the frozen lake and snowy slopes of Central Park, Tait joined them to sketch the winter fun. Then she retreated to her studio to make her painting.
Tait showed the park in late afternoon as the Manhattan sky began to blush and the street lamps to glow, but skating and sledding were still in full swing. Once she had the landscape painted, Tait added figures in groups to create a colorful pattern against the snow and ice. The dark branches of the bare trees make a more subtle design against the white snow and mist and the golden sky. Around the ends of tree branches and in patches along the snowbanks, Tait painted areas of gray into which she drew snow-covered twigs and grasses by scraping away the gray paint with the end of her paintbrush.1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor
See more items in
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Painting and Sculpture
On View
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1st Floor, South Wing
Object number
Agnes Tait, born New York City 1894-died Santa Fe, NM 1981
Figure group
Cityscape\New York\New York
Landscape\park\Central Park
Recreation\sport and play\skating
New Deal\Public Works of Art Project\New York City
Architecture Exterior\commercial\skyscraper
oil on canvas
33 3/4 x 48 in. (85.8 x 121.8 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum