From the Upper West Side to SOHO and out to Coney Island, Frederick Brosen paints the honest and over-looked splendor of New York City’s rainy street corners and gritty façades. Fourteen watercolor paintings, ranging in scale from 10 x 9 inches to 45 x 32 inches, celebrate the city which has served as the artist’s career-long muse and lifelong home. These paintings offer quiet moments of reflection amidst the bustle of NYC, and their skilled-handling demonstrates that Brosen is a true master of watercolor.
As a native New Yorker, Brosen is not seduced by tourist-trap vistas. His keen eye finds the cracks in the skyline which open to urban expanses unconsidered by most. The blues and pinks of passing clouds heightened in their intensity by the heaviness of a high-rise and the solidness of a street corner, as in West 74th Street. Brosen carries his ability to balance such pictorial dichotomies into his scenes of Coney Island, but with the added challenge of the park’s spectacle.
Jones Walk, Coney Island shows the artist looking past the vendor’s stalls, the iron work, the signage and neon lights (painted with a vibrancy rarely, if ever, seen in watercolor) to capture the softly dying light of the day, its delicateness belied by the visual noise of street level. Brosen finds that quietness, and the resulting painting lets the viewer in on it as well. Ultimately, Brosen’s watercolors give the viewer that rare moment in New York City when one can stop, look around, and feel as if they alone are enjoying this moment.
Frederick Brosen (b. 1954) studied at City College of New York and the Art Students League before earning his M.F.A. from Pratt Institute. He has been twice awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant as well as the Silver Medal of Honor by the Royal Society of Arts & Letters in London. As one of America’s finest watercolor artists, his works are found in numerous private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Museum of the City of New York; the New York Historical Society, The National Academy of Design, NY; the Knoxville Museum of Art, TN; and the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, WA. In 2010, Brosen was awarded the Lifetime Career Achievement Award from the City College of New York. His work was recently included in the touring museum exhibition Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008, which traveled to the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT; the San Diego Museum of Art, CA; the Brooklyn Museum, NY; and the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA. Brosen lives and works in New York City.
Frederick Brosen Recent Watercolor Paintings opens at Hirschl & Adler Modern on Thursday, February 6 and runs through Friday, March 6, 2020. Located on the 9th floor of the Fuller Building, at the corner of 57th Street and Madison Avenue, Hirschl & Adler Modern is open Monday through Friday, from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm.