The Under World (Primary Title)

Samuel Woolf, American, 1880 - 1948 (Artist)

ca. 1909–10
oil on canvas
United States
Unframed: 22 1/2 × 30 1/2 in. (57.15 × 77.47 cm)
Framed: 31 1/2 × 39 3/8 × 1 7/8 in. (80.01 × 100.01 × 4.76 cm)
Not on view

Subways, introduced in New York in 1904, drew an array of disparate classes and social types into their stations. Samuel Woolf’s vivid portrayal of urban characters—a messenger boy, an immigrant family, and a showgirl and her so-called protector—reveals the mixing of class, gender, and ethnicity still found on the New York subway. The loose, painterly modeling of form yields a sense of vibrancy and spontaneity—a snapshot-like sensibility—a defining characteristic of works by Robert Henri and other Ashcan artists. Also like the Ashcan painters, Woolf began his career as an artist-journalist, “with a strong sense of drama, of realism.” He later specialized in portraits of presidents and celebrities.

signed, lower left: "S. J. Woolf"
Funds provided by a private Richmond foundation
Made in U.S.A.: l'Art Américain, 1908-1947, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, October 5 – December 31, 2001; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, January 17 – March 31, 2002; and Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montpellier, April 10 – June 25, 2002

New York: Two Different Perspectives, Beacon Hill Fine Art, New York, NY, September 22 – November 18, 1995

Panama–Pacific International Exposition of 1915, Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA, February 20 – December 4, 1915 (No. 2488)

160th Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, February 5 – March 26, 1911 (No. 454)

85th Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, NY, March 12 – April 17, 1910 (No. 329)
©artist or artist’s estate

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