switch views:
  • view lightbox
  • view single item
  • view list

Howard Cook

Born: 1901, Springfield, Massachusetts, United States of America
Died: 1980, Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States of America

Times Square Sector
1930

Etching on off-white paper
Plate: 12 x 9 7/8 in. (30.5 x 25.1 cm)
Sheet: 13 x 11 11/16 in. (33.0 x 29.7 cm)
Mat: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1995.29
Signed: In graphite, lower right (below platemark): Howard Cook imp 1930
Inscribed: In graphite, lower left (below platemark): 3/75; at lower left, near edge: TIMES SQUARE Section; at lower center: ETChING
Artist Name: []

Interpretation

Ranked among the most important of Howard Cook's approximately thirty-five prints of New York City, Times Square Sector features midtown Manhattan's crowded urban topography as an arrangement of geometric forms and light-and-dark contrasts. Cook used his etching needle to incise short, parallel lines close together; the resulting network of hatching created tonal areas that model a variety of buildings. He contrasted the planar flatness of sunlit rooftops and rows of dark square windows in the low-rise buildings in the foreground with the multi-level rectangular volumes of the skyscrapers in the background. In contrast to his wood engraving Skyscraper (TF 1995.28), Times Square Sector offers a broad panorama of urban architecture in its dynamic variety.

Although he was primarily interested in depicting an array of abstract geometric forms in Times Square Sector, Cook included details to specify the locale. In the upper center area of the etching, the prominent building with a clock tower is recognizable as the distinctive Paramount Theater Building, which still stands on Broadway between West 43rd and West 44th Streets; a sensational attraction in its early days, it was only a few years old when Cook made this print. At left, a "TIMES" sign appears to float in the sky; in fact, it was located atop the office building of the newspaper The New York Times, which gave the district its name. At the far right, a non-descript building is identified as the Hotel Chesterfield. The print's perspective on New York as a forest of modern buildings seen from a high vantage point is shared with Samuel L. Margolies's Man's Canyon (TF 1996.41) and William Charles McNulty's New York in the Fifties (TF 1996.39).

Return to top

Provenance

The artist
Margo Pollins Schab, Inc., New York, New York
Terra Foundation for the Arts Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1995

Return to top

Exhibition History

Visions of a Nation: Exploring Identity through American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, August 10, 1996–January 12, 1997.

Figures and Forms: Selections from the Terra Foundation for the Arts, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, May 9–July 9, 2000.

Paris-New York, aller-retour. Une Modernité américaine en formation, 1875–1940. Oeuvres des collections de la Terra Foundation for the Arts et des Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (Paris-New York, Roundtrip. American Modernism in the Making, 1875–1940. Works from the Terra Foundation for the Arts and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, September 15–November 30, 2002. [exh. cat.]

Return to top

Published References

One Hundred Prints by 100 Artists of the Art Students League of New York. (exh. cat., Associated American Artists). New York: Associated American Artists, 1975. No. 21, p. 21; ill. p. 54.

Carey, Frances and Anthony Griffiths. American Prints, Catalogue of an Exhibition at the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum. (exh. cat., British Museum). London, England: Trustees of the British Museum, 1980. No. 82, p. 37.

Duffy, Betty and Douglas. The Graphic Work of Howard Cook: A Catalogue Raisonné. Bethesda, Maryland: Bethesda Art Gallery, 1984. No. 146, pp. 21, 112; ill. p. 39.

American Master Prints from the Betty and Douglas Duffy Collection. Washington, D.C.: The Trust for Museum Exhibitions, 1987. No. 25.

American Modernist Prints: 1900–1945. (exh. cat., Susan Sheehan Inc.). New York: Susan Sheehan Inc., 1987. No. 50.

Griffith, Bronwyn and Lee A. Vedder. Paris-New York, aller-retour. (New York-Paris Round Trip). (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Text pp. 44 (French), 94-5 (English), 106 (checklist); ill. p. 5 (color), p. 9 (color), fig. 19, p. 41 (color). [specific reference to Terra print]

Return to top

Sign on