Grit and Grandeur

“Grand Street and Broadway,” 2019, watercolor over graphite on paper, 45 1/4 x 32 in.

From the Upper West Side to SOHO and out to Coney Island, Frederick Brosen paints the honest and overlooked splendor of New York City’s rainy street corners and gritty façades. As a native New Yorker, he is not seduced by tourist-trap vistas. His keen eye finds the cracks in the skyline that open to urban expanses unconsidered by most, such as the blues and pinks of passing clouds heightened in their intensity by the heaviness of a high-rise and the solidness of a street corner, as in West 74th Street. Brosen carries his ability to balance such pictorial dichotomies into his scenes of Coney Island, but with the added challenge of the park’s spectacle.

“West 74th Street,” 2019, watercolor over graphite on paper, 35 x 23 1/2 in.
“Broome Street,” 2019, watercolor over graphite on paper, 19 x 13 in.

Jones Walk, Coney Island shows the artist looking past the vendors’ stalls, the ironwork, the signage, and neon lights to capture the softly dying light of the day, its delicateness belied by the visual noise of street level. Brosen finds that quietness, and the resulting painting lets the viewer in on it as well. Ultimately, Brosen’s watercolors give the viewer that rare moment in New York City when one can stop, look around, and feel as if they alone are enjoying this moment.

“Jones Walk, Coney Island,” 2019, watercolor over graphite on paper, 19 x 12 1/2 in.

An exhibition of his recent watercolor paintings of New York City opens at Hirschl & Adler Modern on February 6 and runs through March 6, 2020. The fourteen watercolor paintings on display range in scale from 10 x 9 inches to 45 x 32 inches and celebrate the city that has served as the artist’s career-long muse and lifelong home. These paintings offer quiet moments of reflection amidst the bustle of NYC.

“Delancey Street,” 2019, watercolor over graphite on paper, 11 1/2 x 9 1/4 in.

For more must-see shows like this one, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here