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    Description

    PAUL CORNOYER (American, 1864-1923)
    Early Evening, Empire Park, New York, circa 1910
    Oil on canvas
    18 x 24 inches (45.7 x 61.0 cm)
    Signed lower left: Paul Cornoyer

    PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTOR

    PROVENANCE:
    Private collection, New York;
    Private collection, Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey;
    Owen Gallery, New York;
    Private collection, acquired from the above, 2003;
    Hawthorne Fine Art, New York;
    Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2009.

    Paul Cornoyer is best known for his elegant and atmospheric paintings of turn-of-the-century New York. Born in Saint Louis, Cornoyer began his artistic education at the Saint Louis School of Art, painting in the Barbizon style then in vogue. By 1889 he had saved enough money to study in Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian under Jules-Joseph Lefebvre, Louis Blanc, and Benjamin Constant. Like many students of Constant and Lefebvre, Cornoyer adopted elements of a Tonalist style, but the Impressionists, and later the Ash Can School, also influenced him, especially in his preference for urban scenes. He returned to Saint Louis in 1894 but moved to New York in 1898 at the encouragement of William Merritt Chase. There Cornoyer associated with the leading artists of the day, including Thomas Wilmer Dewing, John Henry Twachtman, Julian Alden Weir, and Childe Hassam, and made his reputation as a painter of the city's fashionable districts.

    Cornoyer often painted views of places that were just a short walk from his studio on West 57th Street, like the Plaza Hotel and Columbus Circle. It was probably on one of these walks that Cornoyer set up his easel at the corner of West 65th Street and Broadway to paint Early Evening, Empire Park, New York. Looking southwest past the small triangular park formed by the intersection of Broadway, Columbus Avenue, and West 63rd Street, Cornoyer depicts the old Hotel Empire at 63rd and Broadway on the left, the Ninth Avenue elevated railroad that ran down Columbus on the right, and the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle at 60th and Columbus in the distance. The church and the park (now known as Dante Park) are the only elements of the picture that remain today; the Hotel Empire was rebuilt in 1922, the "El" was dismantled in 1940, and Lincoln Center was built from 1962 to 1968 where the buildings on the right stood.

    Early Evening, Empire Park, New York shows the clear stylistic influence of the Ash Can School, although Cornoyer retains an emphasis on the atmosphere of the scene rather than on its subject matter. The trees and architectural forms silhouetted against the fading daylight are an enduring Tonalist element in Cornoyer's style, and this effect, along with the expressive brushwork in the sky, gives the painting much of its power. But true to his urban subject, Cornoyer depicts the band of electric lights at street level, and he includes four figures crossing Broadway, perhaps on their way home from the 66th Street "El" stop. One of Cornoyer's most artistic works, Early Evening, Empire Park, New York surpasses his typical New York scenes in its successful synthesis of styles and its strong mood.



    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; minor frame wear; old varnish layer; under UV exam, appear to be several flecks of minor inpainting in street in lower right quadrant. Framed Dimensions 28.75 X 34.75 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2013
    5th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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