Art/ Collection/ Art Object

[Chatham Square, New York]

Unknown (American)
Image: 8.9 x 12.2 cm (3 1/2 x 4 13/16 in.), irregular
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Accession Number:
Not on view
This chaotic street scene shows Chatham Street, now Park Row, from below its intersection with Pearl Street, northeast to Chatham Square. Unlike the period's printed views, which were generally designed for clarity and filled with drafting table anecdote, this photograph shows the city as an inelegant confusion of traffic, commercial signs, and pedestrians. It captures the spirit of the street, of "downtown," where the busy, unmannerly commerce in furniture and feathers, window shades, tea, and even daguerreotypes gave rise to New York's prominence as the "Great Emporium."
Inscription: Label affixed to plate verso inscribed in ink: "Chatham Sq., New York"
[Daniel Wolf] (sold, Christie's New York, Oct. 5, 1994, lot 3); Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York

Smithsonian American Art Museum. "Secrets of the Dark Chamber: The Art of the American Daguerreotype," June 30, 1995–October 29, 1995.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Howard Gilman Gallery: Inaugural Installation," October 16, 1997–February 1, 1998.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825–1861," September 19, 2000–January 7, 2001.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "As It Happened: Photographs from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 7, 2002–August 25, 2002.

Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture. "Visualizing Nineteenth-Century New York," September 18, 2014–January 11, 2015.

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