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Impressions Of New York: Prints From The New-York Historical Society

November 04, 2004 - March 20, 2005

As part of its 200th anniversary celebration, the New-York Historical Society presents the exhibition Impressions of New York: Prints from the New-York Historical Society. By picturing over 300 years of New York City's dynamic urban evolution, the exhibition presents more than 100 prints featuring the city's dramatic panoramic vistas, distinctive architecture, memorable triumphs and disasters as well as many everyday occurrences that make up New York City's unique character. The prints will provide a snapshot of the city's history from its colonial beginnings to the thriving metropolis of today. The exhibit will be on view from November 9, 2004 through March 20, 2005.

Nathaniel Currier, First Appearance of Jenny Lind in America, 1850. Hand-colored lithograph. New-York Historical Society

"Impressions of New York is a golden opportunity for the New-York Historical Society to show the world a remarkable selection of prints that bring the story of New York City to life," said Louise Mirrer, President & CEO of the Historical Society.

The exhibit features panoramic vistas of New York City's waterfront and waterways; spectacular aerial views of Manhattan; representations of particular buildings, landmarks and bridges; images of daily urban life and pictures of famous disasters as well as rebirth and renewal of many of the city's neighborhoods.

Works featured in the exhibition include:

  • "The Burgis View" (1717) a rare engraving done by John Harris of Lower Manhattan and one of the earliest printed panoramas ever made of the city.

  • "New York from Brooklyn Heights" (1837) by William James Bennett shows a spectacular view of New York from the earliest developed 'outer' borough, contrasted with Lower Manhattan seen from 2 Montague Terrace, Brooklyn Heights (1931) almost a century later depicts a more colossal 20th century metropolis full of skyscrapers.

  • New York from the Steeple of St. Paul's Church looking East, South and West (1849) by Henry Papprill provides a breathtaking bird's eye view, while John Bornet's prints from 1854 feature aerial views of Manhattan and along the coast of Long Island.

  • Aerial woodcut view of Lower Manhattan by Yvonne Jacquette (2003) and a dynamic mezzotint showing Times Square by Art Werger.

Starting in the 1820s, skilled artists and printmakers began settling in New York City, thereby transforming the city into an important American cultural capital and printing center. Today, the city continues to provide a vibrant community for print publishers and print aficionados alike.

"The New-York Historical Society holds one of the few extensive collections of city prints, which are preserved for their artistic and historic significance and displayed to allow today's visitors to interpret them for insights on America's past events, urban growth and cultural achievement," stated Dr. Mirrer. "This exhibition perfectly compliments the Historical Society's own bi-centennial celebration."

Impressions of New York features some of the best printed images ever made to document New York City. For instance, America's famous lithographers Currier & Ives published one of the first dramatic aerial views of the Brooklyn Bridge soon after its completion in 1883, which will be on display in the exhibit. An array of architectural prints of the city's distinguished buildings will also be shown, including Alexander Jackson Davis's lithograph of the first Merchants' Exchange (1827) and Richard Estes' 1971 etching of the façade of the Little Singer Building in SoHo.

Creative: Tronvig Group