Technique and condition
Broadway and 7th
Avenue Local is painted on cotton canvas with a 1 x 2 weave pattern. The canvas is stretched over an expandable pine stretcher with one horizontal and one vertical crossbar. The canvas is sized with a synthetic resin, now slightly yellowed, on the front face and outer edges. There is no priming layer.
The oil paint is applied continuously across the front face of the canvas. At the top edge, the paint only just goes beyond the front turnover edge. On the right edge, a paint layer continues over the entire tacking edge, and seems to be a continuation of the initial colours applied to the front face. At the bottom edge, the paint is irregular, with drips. At the left edge, the paint is irregularly applied approximately 1 cm from the front face with additional paint build-up at the upper left edge.
An old canvas may have been re-used or the painting may have been partially painted then damaged (torn with some loss to the canvas on the right edge). Possibly, the work was removed from its original stretcher and re-stretched on a smaller support (approximately 3cm lower and over to the right to hide the tear). There is a horizontal ridge of paint approx. 30mm from the top edge which may indicate the original foldover edge. There is a ridge of paint running along the left edge, up to 9mm wide at the top and getting narrower towards the bottom. There are also old staple marks on the neatly trimmed, top edge. However, there are only one set of staple marks on the left, right and bottom edge.
There is no underdrawing visible under magnification or with infrared imaging. The paint was brush applied over a period of time. The oil paint is rich and has a soft glossy sheen. The canvas texture is apparent in the background, through the brushy strokes of brown paint. The face and neck were energetically brushed and spattered and daubed, resulting in a richly textured, expressionistic surface. In the neck area, some of the thick, rich paint has wrinkled upon drying. Although layered with apparent brush texture, some areas of thickness and a few linear ridges, the surface is generally flat. There is no varnish.
The painting is in good condition, although somewhat grimy. The canvas was slightly distorted at the corners and floppy on its stretcher. The surface was cleaned with aqueous solutions. The work was locally re-tensioned to reduce the deformations. A stretcher bar lining of polyester sailcloth was applied to the reverse in order to protect the work from flopping against the stretcher bars. The work was remounted in its original frame: an MDF (medium density fibreboard) L-section with a dark wood veneer.