About the Object
In this wintery view of the Manhattan skyline as seen from Brooklyn, the skyscrapers appear in silhouette—the Singer Building and Woolworth Building are both identifiable beyond bare tree branches. In the foreground, snow piles in drifts in front of a red brick tobacco factory. The factory, with its darkened rows of arched windows and fractured fencing, feels abandoned. There are no traces of people, adding an eerie stillness to the scene.
The renovated tobacco warehouse in the foreground still stands today in the Dumbo neighborhood in Brooklyn. The building also appears in George Ault’s Brooklyn Ice House, 1926, Newark Museum. In From Brooklyn Heights, 1925–28, also in the Newark Museum collection, Ault explores another view of the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn, this one featuring the waterway and boats between.
Mrs. A. L. French, Wilkes-Barre, PA;
[Bonhams & Butterfields, June 8, 2004, lot 4105];
[Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York, NY];
New York. The Whitney Studio Club. 12th Annual Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by the Members of the Club. February 16-March 5, 1927, np., cat. no. 4.
New York. Craig F. Starr Gallery. American Modernism: Paintings, Drawings and Prints. January 11-February 19, 2005.
Tulsa. Philbrook Museum of Art. From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism from the Vilcek Foundation Collection (February 8-May 3, 2015); Phoenix. Phoenix Art Museum (June 5-September 6, 2015); Santa Fe. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (September 25, 2015-January 10, 2016).
Oxford, England. Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology, University of Oxford. America’s Cool Modernism: O’Keeffe to Hopper, March 23-July 22, 2018.
Corpus Christi. The Art Museum of South Texas. Masterpieces of American Modernism from the Vilcek Collection of American Art. September 13, 2018-January 6, 2019.
Louise Ault, “Ault Estate: Record of Works by George C. Ault,” as “Brooklyn Backyards, Winter / Oil, 18 x 23 1/2, produced 1925/ Sold: Mrs. Worden French, Wilkes Barre, Pa. 1926.” George Ault Papers, Reel 1927, Frame 733, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Photographs-Reproductions of Works. George Ault Papers, Reel D247, Frame 272, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
American Art Review 16, no. 3 (May/June 2004).
Private Collection. Bonhams & Butterfields. California and American Paintings and Sculpture. June 8, 2004, lot 4105, ill. p. 61.
Agee, William C. and Lewis Kachur. Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek Collection. London: Merrell, 2013, pp. 12, 172-173, 238, 262, ill. p. 173.
Pochoda, Elizabeth. “Freedom and the abstract truth: Jan and Marica Vilcek’s collection of American modernist art,” The Magazine Antiques (May/June 2013), p. 102, ill. p. 101, fig. 10.
O’Hern, John. “Modern Manor,” American Fine Art Magazine, September/October 2013, ill. p. 58.
Watts Jr., James D. “Modern masterworks: Philbrook exhibit brings American masters to Tulsa,” Tulsa World, February 12, 2015, ill.
Abatemarco, Michael. “Assimilation Through Art: The Modernist Collection of Marica and Jan Vilcek,” Pasatiempo, September 25, 2015, p.39, ill. p. 36.
Jones, Jonathan. “America’s Cool Modernism review – souful struggles against a skyscraping new world,” The Guardian, March 22, 2018.