American, 1883-1962

"5th Ave at 42nd Street"

oil on canvas
signed lower right "Guy Wiggins", titled and signed on the reverse
25 1/4 x 30 1/4 inches

  • Provenance: Spanierman Gallery, New York, New York (label on the reverse); Private Collection, New York

    Framed dimensions: 32 x 37 x 2 inches

    Guy C. Wiggins was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1883. His father, Carleton Wiggins, was an accomplished landscape artist who enjoyed a successful career. According to an article on the Wiggins family written in 2011, "He [Carleton Wiggins] pressed a palette and paints into his young son's hands. By age 4, Guy Carleton Wiggins was churning out watercolors that foreshadowed a talent greater than his father's." (Ann Farmer, "A Family of Painters is Having Its Moment," New York Times, June 6, 2011)

    Wiggins first studied architecture at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute then left to pursue fine arts training at the National Academy of Design. The architecture of New York City became his muse and he started painting famous buildings in an impressionistic style. He once said, "If you want to sell paintings, it helps if it's recognizable to many people."

    He became highly successful in the 1920s and 1930s selling views of New York City architecture, particularly in the snow. In 1912, he became the youngest artist represented in the Metropolitan Museum's collection with a painting titled "Metropolitan Tower." He painted the Executive Mansion from the White House Lawn, a painting that hung in President Eisenhower's Office.

    The Great Depression took a toll on sales and Wiggins struggled in the years following the war. He moved with his family permanently to Essex, Connecticut and started the Guy Wiggins Art School. He became an active member of the Old Lyme Art Academy. He started to paint landscapes, however, he continued to paint New York City as a preferred subject, particularly on snowy days.

    In the current example, 5th Ave at 42nd Street, the city taxis and pedestrians move undeterred by the falling snow. The lions in front of the library rest peacefully under the colorful waving flags.

    Wiggins' legacy was preserved in the history of American Art and his works are included in numerous public and private collections including the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery in Washington D.C., and the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Tags: oil painting, listed artist, New York City, New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue, snow scene, winter scene, taxi, flags
  • Condition: in very good overall condition; lined canvas; minor restoration to bottom edge visible under UV; a few small dots of restoration in the sky apparent under UV

    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. 

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April 27, 2023 6:00 PM EDT
Milford, CT, US


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