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Saturday Night in August -- Eighth Avenue

In this nighttime street scene, William Coffin depicted throngs of pleasure seekers strolling past shop fronts along a stretch of Eighth Avenue in New York. Known for attracting diverse classes and ethnic groups, this area was decidedly less fashionable than the nearby Broadway theater district. The two most striking features of the painting—its monochromatic palette of gray tones and its reportorial realism (note such gritty details as litter in the street)—suggest that it was intended for reproduction as a black-and-white illustration in a newspaper or magazine.

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