The Green Car

Artist: William James Glackens (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1870–1938 Westport, Connecticut)

Date: 1910

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 24 x 32 in. (61 x 81.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1937

Accession Number: 37.73


In 1904, with his new wife, the artist Edith Dimock, Glackens established his household at 3 Washington Square North and his studio at 50 Washington Square South, in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village. By this time, the neighborhood's patrician residents had migrated uptown and yielded the Village to artists and writers and a growing immigrant community south of the Square. In The Green Car, a view to the north from his studio window, Glackens suggests this transition from old to new. In the background is a glimpse of "The Row," the elegant red-brick, Greek Revival houses that had been built along Washington Square North in the 1830s and 1840s for some of New York's most prominent old families. In the foreground, a fashionably dressed young woman hails a streetcar, powered by underground electrical cables, which was emblematic of modern developments. Glackens' brilliant chromatic palette and feathery brushwork reflect the influence of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, whose works he had been purchasing since 1910 for the collection of his Philadelphia friend Albert C. Barnes.