New Work

The latest prints by Frederick Mershimer are Works of Man, the sculptural group on top of the New York Stock Exchange; Met Life, the landmark building on Madison Square Park as seen from West 24th Street; Film Noir, an image celebrating the cinema; After Hours, a late-night street scene; and Surf Avenue, a two-plate scene of Coney Island.

Works of Man by Frederick Mershimer

Works of Man — the latest mezzotint — is a scene of the pediment on top of the New York Stock Exchange. The title of the print comes from the sculptural group, Integrity Protecting the Works of Man. The original marble sculptures were done John Quincy Adam Ward. What is seen today is a 1936 replacement made with lead-coated copper. In the center is Integrity, flanked by two children. The male figures to her right represent Mechanic Production, International Trade, Realizing Intelligence and Science. To her left, the first two figures represent Agriculture and the last two, Mining. The top of this great financial institution is contrasted against the heavens.

Met Life by Frederick Mershimer

In Met Life, the viewer is looking east down the dark industrial canyon of West 24th Street past Madison Square Park to the elevated walkway that connects the Metropolitan Life north and south buildings. When I started the preliminary sketches for this piece there was also a second elevated walkway connecting the buildings on the foreground side of the park. On a trip back to the location to get further information, I found that the second walkway had just been dismantled. Initially I was unhappy with this change because the two walkways were what drew my attention to the scene in the first place. This is not the first time that a major compositional feature had changed by the never-ending evolution of the city. As I decided if I wanted to go on with the original concept, I realize that compositionally the piece worked better without the other walkway. I moved halfway down the block, closer to the landmark tower, and the focus of the print became the building as a beacon in the night sky.

Film Noir by Frederick Mershimer

Film Noir is a scene of the old Waverly Theater on 6th Avenue and West 4th Street. The image was inspired by a dream the artist had of doing a print of an old theater. The artist walked through the Times Square looking for his muse, but none of the theaters seemed right. Later, when going up 6th Avenue on a bus, the artist saw the subject of his next print. Always having a passion for cinema, Mershimer set about constructing the composition from photos of people he had photographed that would speak the mystery and magic of the movies.

After Hours by Frederick Mershimer

After Hours is a scene of Church Street in lower Manhattan that portrays the late-night energy of New York, where the town is always a buzz of activity.

Surf Avenue by Frederick Mershimer

Surf Avenue captures the contrast between the seedy, darker foreground of Surf Avenue and the magic glow of the background rides of the amusement park. The artist was interested in capturing the honky-tonk energy of Coney Island, before the city planned an overhaul of the area. After completion of the prints, the buildings between the Shoot ’Em Win and the Wonder Wheel were razed.