Spring Morning in the Heart of the City, 1890, reworked 1895-99. Childe Hassam. Oil on canvas. Gift of Ethelyn McKinney, in memory of her brother, Glenn Ford McKinney, 1943.
Hassam’s city scenes often focused on Manhattan’s spine, Fifth Avenue, and the then-fashionable parks that adjoined it. Here, he recorded the busy area west of Madison Square Park, which was established before 1850 between Fifth and Madison Avenues just north of Twenty-Third Street. The entrance to the Fifth Avenue Hotel, denoted by a classical portico, a large circular clock, and two curbside gaslights, appears at the lower left. This elegant hotel and others, along with theaters, concert halls, and restaurants, made Madison Square one of the city’s most vibrant centers for entertainment and tourism during the 1890s.