ROBERT HAVELL, JR. (1793-1878): Panoramic View of New York From the East River.

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ROBERT HAVELL, JR. (1793-1878):

Panoramic View of New York From the East River.

Hand-colored etching and aquatint, 13 ½” x 37 ½” sheet.

London: Ackermann & Co., c. 1844.

Formerly owned by the Down Town Association in New York, the present aquatint is the pendant to Havell’s view of New York from the North River. With its exceptionally well preserved colors it engages in a subtle interplay of hues ranging from the dark blue shadows in the foreground to the light grey of the horizon. Henry Havell - the presumed colorist - thus strikes a more dynamic note that contrasts with the serenity of its twin plate.

Price: $22,000 / $38,000 (pair) _____________________________________________________________________________ Description: In his discussion of Havell’s panoramas of New York, Stokes (1918) suggests that the view from the East River is based on a later drawing than its companion piece. It furthermore seems to have been the product of at least two hands, as the vessels are different from Robert Havell’s more eloquent style. They have been attributed to James Fulton Pringle who conceived them as staffage elements lacking the agency of, for instance, the “British Queen” or first transatlantic steamboat in Havell’s twin composition of Manhattan.

The view from the East River is nevertheless an impressive testament to urban development in the United States and the bourgeois taste in documenting socio-economic growth through high-quality prints. It is thus not surprising that Havell’s iconic panorama is a rarity on the market with the Rare Book Hub database recording only two sales in over 70 years.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns a copy from the collection of Edward W. C. Arnold. In its Spring Bulletin (1988), the museum captures the zeitgeist of the Golden Century of American Printmaking - a description that also applies to Havell’s panorama: “ The demand for images of buildings, civic events, and broad vistas made this an active period for printmakers of all degrees of competence.”

Lit. Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes: “The Iconography of Manhattan Island”, New York 1915-1928. Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Spring Bulletin”, New York 1988.