Union Park, New York

Sarah Fairchild American

Not on view

When amateur artist Sarah Fairchild painted this cityscape, the park at Union Square was relatively new. It had been built in the early 1830s on vacant land extending between Broadway and Fourth Avenue above Fourteenth Street. The gushing fountain shown in the middle ground was constructed in 1842 to mark the completion of the Croton Aqueduct, which for the first time assured New Yorkers of a sufficient water supply. Without the Croton system in place, the population of Manhattan could not have doubled, as it did, between 1845 and 1855. Perhaps to underscore the importance of water to Manhattanites, Fairchild shows a man pointing in excitement with his cane and a couple within the park staring raptly at the fountain’s plumes of spray

Union Park, New York, Sarah Fairchild (active 1840s), Watercolor, gouache, pen and ink, and graphite on off-white wove paper, American

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