Tompkins Park, N.Y. City

Media - 1980.48 - SAAM-1980.48_1 - 49066
Copied Saul Kovner, Tompkins Park, N.Y. City, 1934, oil on canvas, 2124 in. (53.361.0 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum acquisition, 1980.48

Artwork Details

Tompkins Park, N.Y. City
2124 in. (53.361.0 cm)
lower left in oil: Saul 1934/MARCH/TOMPKiNS PARK/N.Y. CITY (written at an angle) stretcher upper right in crayon: Saul stretcher upper right in crayon: 36 Union Sq. NYC stretcher upper center in watercolor: NYRC 1864
Credit Line
Museum acquisition
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Figure group
  • Landscape
  • Cityscape — New York — New York
  • Landscape — weather — snow
  • Recreation — sport and play — sledding
  • New Deal — Public Works of Art Project — New York City
  • Architecture Exterior — domestic — apartment
Object Number

Artwork Description

Saul Kovner’s Tompkins Park, N.Y. City was painted in 1934, under the patronage of the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), a New Deal program created by the federal government to offer work and financial support to America’s artists during the Great Depression. The public park, situated in the Alphabet City section of Manhattan’s East Village, is named in honor of Daniel D. Tompkins (1774-1825), who served as governor of New York from 1807 to 1817 and as vice president of the United States under James Monroe from 1817 to 1825. The PWAP encouraged their commissioned artists to capture “the American Scene,” and in this painting Kovner conveys strong messages of community spirit and American values. Children and adults enjoy winter in the park, building snowmen and playing with sleds; the presence of the Stars and Stripes in the center of the work places this as a uniquely American scene.