1993 New York in the Thirties

Helen Hayes and Maurice Evans in Twelfth Night, 1940

Helen Hayes and Maurice Evans in Twelfth Night, 1940

The Studio of Ben Solowey’s second exhibition was New York in the Thirties,  featuring Ben’s work from his years in Manhattan from 1928 – 1942.

Nasturtiums Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in., c. 1935

Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in., c. 1935

New York in the Thirties showcased Ben’s paintings and drawings from those halcyon days in New York. The city was a cultural crossroads in the 1930s, and New York’s influence could be felt through the bold, imaginative work on view, which included still lifes, portraits, and landscapes. This work was first seen in international exhibitions alongside Picasso, Matisse, and other legendary artists of the period. Much of this work, including the portraits from the performing arts, had never been exhibited in Bucks County.


Laurence Olivier, 1929

New York in the Thirties highlighted Ben’s acclaimed charcoal portraits of performers of the stage, screen and opera house. They are a significant piece of American cultural history. Commissioned by The New York Times and Herald Tribune to capture performers of the day for their drama pages, Solowey insisted on working from life for his drawings while many of contemporaries relied on photographs for their sketches. To be drawn by Solowey was a sign that a performer had “arrived.” His portraits were eagerly awaited each week by both performers and newspaper readers. Solowey portraits in this exhibition include Jimmy Durante, Marlene Dietrich, Claude Rains, Ethel Barrymore, George Balanchine, Clara Bow, Noel Coward, Fanny Brice, John Garfield, Jessica Tandy, Rodgers and Hart, and over 800 others.

Complete List of Ben Solowey “Theater Portraits”

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