Subway

  • Lily Furedi, Subway, 1934, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1965.18.43

Exhibition Label
In this painting Lily Furedi boldly did something that few dare to do: she looked at people on the subway. She took the viewpoint of a seated rider gazing down the car at her fellow passengers. The Hungarian-born artist knew of the subway riders' customary avoidance of staring at one’s fellow riders; most people in her painting keep to themselves by hiding behind a magazine or newspaper, or by sleeping. Those who violate the unwritten rule do so furtively. A woman takes a quiet sidelong glance at the newspaper read by the man next to her, while a man steals a peek at a young woman applying lipstick. Only two women in the foreground, who obviously know each other, dare to look directly at each other as they talk companionably.

Furedi takes a friendly interest in her fellow subway riders, portraying them sympathetically. She focuses particularly on a musician who has fallen asleep in his formal working clothes, holding his violin case. The artist would have identified with such a New York musician because her father, Samuel Furedi, was a professional cellist.

1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label

Title
Subway
Artist
Date
1934
On View
Dimensions
39 x 48 1/4 in. (99.1 x 122.6 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

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

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Recreation – leisure – reading
  • Recreation – leisure – conversation
  • State of being – other – sleep
  • Architecture – vehicle – subway
  • Figure group
  • Recreation – leisure – grooming
  • New Deal – Public Works of Art Project – New York City
Object Number
1965.18.43
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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