Collections: American Art: The Way the City is Built

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Colonel Robert J. Milligan House Parlor

This parlor and library are from the house still standing in Saratoga Springs, New York, built by Robert J. Milligan in 1854–56 and il...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Hair Ornament

    Ivory’s value results from its scarcity, as well as its association with the elephant, a symbol of power and strength. Ivory bracelets...


    Login to play

    Login with Google ID

    Forgot your password?

    Not a Posse member? Register

    Brooklyn Museum Posse:
    Exploring the collection

    When you join the posse, your tags comments and favorites will display with your attribution and save to your profile.

    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    The Way the City is Built

    Charles Miller had a preservationist’s interest in the historic buildings and landmarks that were rapidly disappearing throughout New York and Long Island. This Harlem scene represents the modern urban landscape in transition: a hill on which stands an old cottage is being razed for the construction of more multistory tenements like the ones at right. Miller’s unvarnished realism and broad brushwork reveal the influence of progressive trends in European art, which he would have observed while studying at the Royal Academy in Munich after abandoning a medical career in 1867.

    • Artist: Charles Henry Miller, American, 1842-1922
    • Medium: Watercolor with graphite pencil underdrawing on moderately textured, moderately thick, cream, wove paper (cold-pressed watercolor paper)
    • Dates: 1877
    • Dimensions: 12 7/8 x 18 1/2 in. (32.7 x 47 cm) Frame: 24 x 30 x 1 1/2 in. (61 x 76.2 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    • Signature: Signed lower right: "CH Miller. May 77"
    • Collections:American Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 50.149.2
    • Credit Line: Dick S. Ramsay Fund
    • Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
    • Caption: Charles Henry Miller (American, 1842-1922). The Way the City is Built, 1877. Watercolor with graphite pencil underdrawing on moderately textured, moderately thick, cream, wove paper (cold-pressed watercolor paper), 12 7/8 x 18 1/2 in. (32.7 x 47 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 50.149.2
    • Image: overall, 50.149.2_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
    • Record Completeness: Best (83%)
    advanced 106,522 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Tags by Posse members
    • Axelle (13)
      • Harlem
      • excavation
      • townhouses
      • river
      • horses
      • cart
      • workers
      • smoke
      • Old New York
      • New York City
      • Manhattan
      • building
      • construction
    • Liesbeth (1)
      • clouds
    • lillie (6)
      • watercolor
      • American art
      • American male artist
      • cityscape
      • clouds
      • river
    • francesca (5)
      • clouds
      • sky
      • hill
      • house
      • horses
    • ninakuriloff (1)
      • Sky
    • spbivona (9)
      • Landscape
      • Cliff
      • Clouds
      • Work
      • Water
      • Buildings
      • House
      • Horses
      • People

    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.