Skating in Central Park

  • Agnes Tait, Skating in Central Park, 1934, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1964.1.15

Agnes Tait had long wanted to make a large, festive painting of winter revelers in Central Park, but without a patron she could not take on this project. When the Public Works of Art Project gave her support in the winter of 1933–1934, the artist had her opportunity. As skaters and sledders flocked to the frozen lake and snowy slopes of Central Park, Tait joined them to sketch the winter fun. Then she retreated to her studio to make her painting.

Tait showed the park in late afternoon as the Manhattan sky began to blush and the street lamps to glow, but skating and sledding were still in full swing. Once she had the landscape painted, Tait added figures in groups to create a colorful pattern against the snow and ice. The dark branches of the bare trees make a more subtle design against the white snow and mist and the golden sky. Around the ends of tree branches and in patches along the snowbanks, Tait painted areas of gray into which she drew snow-covered twigs and grasses by scraping away the gray paint with the end of her paintbrush.

1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label

Skating in Central Park
33 3448 in. (85.8121.8 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Architecture Exterior – commercial – skyscraper
  • Figure group
  • Recreation – sport and play – skating
  • Cityscape – New York – New York
  • Cityscape – season – winter
  • Landscape – park – Central Park
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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