42nd St. Nocturne

  • Xavier J. Barile, 42nd St. Nocturne, 1953, oil on fabric: canvas mounted on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Xavier J. Barile, 1979.14.2

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In 42nd St. Nocturne, Xavier Barile painted New York City's Apollo Theatre aglow beneath a starry sky. Barile's lively "nocturne" shows moviegoers filtering in and out of the theater under a marquee advertising the main feature, The Moon is Blue. Directed by Otto Preminger, this 1953 comedy film caused an uproar when it appeared on the big screen. The story revolves around a virginal young actress pursued by a playboy architect. Preminger released the film without the approval of the Motion Picture Production Code, since he refused to remove such words from the script as "pregnant" and "seduce," language considered objectionable at the time. The director's rebellion was great publicity, and huge crowds flocked to see a movie that, as Barile's marquee advertises, was "spiced by more than a dash of sex."

42nd St. Nocturne
Not on view
8 7/8 x 11 7/8 in. (22.7 x 30.3 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Xavier J. Barile

Mediums Description
oil on fabric: canvas mounted on paperboard
  • Architecture Exterior – civic – Apollo Theater
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

Born: Tufo, Italy 1891–Died: New York, New York 1981

42nd St. Nocturne

1953, oil on fabric: canvas mounted on paperboard

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