Brooklyn on Paper: From the Collection of the Brooklyn Museum
My feeling was that Brooklyn had the quality of a small town, where I lived. There were unpaved roads and the Long Island Railroad had its freight trains coming through an open cut, which added to the country effect. I thought of Brooklyn as a home town.
[Brooklyn was] a little different . . . because it was a lot of villages, each with a variety of people, working people and professionals. . . .
Everywhere I go—Austria, Germany, Italy, the Scandinavian countries—I see the faces of people I know back home in Brooklyn, where I was born in 1941. . . . We talk about “the melting pot” here. I bet the phrase started in Brooklyn.
This small exhibition of photographs, prints, and drawings by Brooklyn artists celebrates the vibrant, multifaceted face of the borough as it has evolved over a century and a half. Originally a rural farm community, Breuckelen (meaning “broken land”) was settled by the Dutch in the seventeenth century. In 1834 the Village of Brooklyn was incorporated into the City of Brooklyn, which by 1860 was the third-largest city in the United States with a population of more than 267,000. The completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 formed a physical link to Manhattan, and in 1898 Brooklyn was formally consolidated into Greater New York. (For a look at early nineteenth-century Brooklyn, visit the exhibition Picturing Place, Francis Guy’s Brooklyn, 1820, on this floor through June 18.) Brooklyn is known as a borough of neighborhoods. Settled by great waves of immigrants throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it has become a diverse mix of cultures that continue to add new dimensions and richness to its collective personality. Indeed, Brooklyn is defined by the coexistence of these neighborhoods and these cultures. And it is renowned for the Brooklyn Bridge, called the eighth wonder of the world when it opened. The works on paper displayed here present varied views of the people, streets, and waterways of Brooklyn, a continual inspiration for artists.