Christopher Street, Greenwich Village

  • Beulah R. Bettersworth, Christopher Street, Greenwich Village, 1934, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1965.18.7

Exhibition Label
A wintry corner of Greenwich Village lives in this painting as Beulah Bettersworth knew it when she and her husband inhabited 95 Christopher Street, a block away. Closely observed details draw the viewer into the painting to join Bettersworth's neighbors hurrying through the slushy snow, catching a whiff of tobacco from the cigar store in the foreground. Snow melts from the roof of St. Veronica's Catholic Church, whose towers are visible behind the Ninth Avenue "L" station. The elevated train station had been an elegant adaptation of a Swiss chalet when it was built in 1867, but by Bettersworth’s time it was an aging relic soon to be torn down. Like the rusting "L," the famous bohemian artistic colony that had enlivened Greenwich Village in the early twentieth century faded as the decades passed. Yet artists like Bettersworth still found homes there and with the advent of the Depression, low rents attracted a new generation of poverty-stricken young poets and painters to the Village’s storied garrets. Perhaps the colorful aura of the Village appealed to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who chose this modest canvas to hang in the White House.

1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label

Christopher Street, Greenwich Village
On View
Not on view.
30 1/8 x 24 1/4 in. (76.5 x 61.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Architecture Exterior – religious – church
  • Architecture Exterior – commercial – store
  • New Deal – Public Works of Art Project – New York City
  • Cityscape – New York – New York
  • Cityscape – street – Christopher Street
  • Cityscape – New York – Greenwich Village
  • Cityscape – weather – snow
  • Figure group
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI