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View over Soho, Lower Manhattan

Although best known for his nudes in studio interiors, Pearlstein began a series of large-scale landscapes in 1974 during a visit to the Canyon de Chelly. While he envisioned this body of work as a meditation on ruins, it included this contemporary view of Manhattan. Pearlstein explained that it was inspired by Joseph Pennell’s sepia-colored WWI poster showing an apocalyptic bombing of New York City. To produce his image, Pearlstein taped a grid on the window of his friends’ Soho apartment and spent every Sunday for several months painstakingly recording the vista. The scene—which he described as a “pre-ruin”—is eerily prophetic with the shadowy World Trade Center towers visible in the background.

Philip Pearlstein
American, born 1924
View over Soho, Lower Manhattan
1977-78
Aquatint and etching in brown ink on paper
Image/sheet: 30 3/8 x 40 ¾ in. (77.1 x 103.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art 82.21

Large image not available.