Nightfall: Craig McPherson’s Yankee Stadium at Night

This post is one in a series highlighting the special exhibition Nightfall: Prints of the Dark Hours, which explores evocative artistic images of night, called nocturnes. The exhibition is on view through March 22, 2016, in the VMFA Works on Paper Focus Gallery. Admission is free.


Craig McPherson (American, born 1948), Yankee Stadium at Night, 1983. mezzotint, 36 3/8 x 48 in. Collection of the Artist

Craig McPherson’s mezzotint Yankee Stadium at Night (1983), on loan from the artist himself, shows the dramatic effects of the baseball stadium’s gleaming artificial lights against the backdrop of the vast night sky.

In Yankee Stadium at Night, the concentrated outpouring of light from the Bronx stadium contrasts the sparse dots of brightness from cars, buildings, and streetlights, giving a sense of the grand spectacle of a major league baseball game without needing to show the players in action. McPherson seems to acknowledge that more is occurring in the scene than just what takes place inside the titular ballpark: the stadium lights create an aura over the city, and so the nightscape feels more awake than restful, much like the other urban nocturnes by Edward Hopper, Armin Landeck, and Bill Jacklin that are included in Nightfall.

Virginia-based artist Craig McPherson (born 1948), who grew up and received his BFA in Kansas, is renowned for his scenes of New York City, where he lived and worked for thirty years as a muralist, painter, printmaker, and draftsman. Critics and curators refer to McPherson’s compositions as “lush” and “cinematic,” the reasons for which become apparent upon viewing Yankee Stadium at Night in person.

Bailey Goldsborough
Curatorial Intern,
VMFA Department of European Art