The Chrysler Building Under Construction
Not on view
Pen, brush and ink, transparent and opaque watercolor, and graphite pencil on paper
Sheet: 21 9/16 × 16 1/16in. (54.8 × 40.8 cm) Image: 20 1/2 × 14 11/16in. (52.1 × 37.3 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Mrs. William A. Marsteller
Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate
Earle Horter was close to Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, and other Precisionist painters who used crisp lines and flat geometric planes to depict the forms of modern architecture. The Chrysler Building Under Construction combines straightedge drawing and watercolor in-painting to define a composition that accords with the subjects and style of his cohorts. With its passages of repeating patterns in the window grids and near monochromes in the shadows, the image conveys a bold impulse toward geometric abstraction. Horter’s use of light to define the composition and emphasize the rising profile of the Chrysler Building, as viewed from 42nd Street near Third Avenue, captures the intense verticality and ambitious spirit of the skyscraper, then the tallest building in the world.