Photo credit: Donor provided
Accession Number: C.2021.41.1
Dimensions: 10 in X 16 in
Dimensions (Metric): 25.4 cm X 40.64 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Nicholas Evans-Cato
Oil on canvas painting titled Lower Manhattan (1973) by Eddie Earl Cato. The painting depicts the lower Manhattan skyline as seen from a Manhattan rooftop in the vicinity of Grand Street/Mott Street/Hester Street and the Bowery on the Lower East Side. The Twin Towers appear on the right side of the skyline, nearly completed construction with the kangaroo cranes still visible at the tops of the towers. The Woolworth building at 233 Broadway is immediately to the left of the South Tower. The Jacob K. Javits Building at Federal Plaza is blocking the lower portion of the North Tower on the far right. The U.S. Federal Courthouse at 40 Foley Square is the taller building on the left side of the canvas. In the foreground are lower brick buildings similar to tenement rooftops. The cloud filled sky is painted in shades of blue.
Brooklyn artist Eddie Earl Cato often painted cityscapes during the late 1960s and 1970s. Frequently, his attention focused on the gritty condition of Brooklyn and the Gowanus Canal area well before gentrification had reclaimed the waterfront. Contrasting with Brooklyn’s low-rise built terrain, across the East River loomed the skyline of lower Manhattan. In this view, Cato has captured the almost-completed Twin Towers of the new World Trade Center. Judging from the perspective of the Towers—still crowned with crane apparatus used to hoist the skyscrapers’ structural steel—and locations of the Foley Square Courthouse and the Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway, this small-scale painting was likely made en plein air from a Manhattan rooftop. A palette of muted turquoise, violet, gray, mauve and cream highlights inject the view with an impressionist quality despite the solidity of Cato’s architectural forms.