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18th Century European Art

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A View of New York from the North West

1774
10 5/8 x 17 13/16 in. (27 x 45.3 cm)

Joseph F.W. Des Barres (aka Des Barres, Joseph Frederick Wallet)
British (Switzerland, 1722 - 1824, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Object Type: Print
Medium and Support: Hand-colored aquatint
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John M. Topham
Accession Number: 1992.30
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Location: Not currently on view

A print from the first important marine atlas, American Neptune, presents a scene of British naval vessels sailing near rural Manhattan shores – ostensibly a peaceful and calm moment, but deceptively so, since it would only be a matter of months before resistance to British rule surfaced. The New York that we see through Des Barres’s eyes is over two centuries and a national history removed from Rhonda Schaller’s memento mori for the destruction of the World Trade Center, but contained in both works is the kernel of political struggle and tragic loss of life.

[Label text, 2003]

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