New York: Evening on the East River is an color etching and aquatint from 1928 by Czech-born American printmaker, Max Pollak (1886-1970). It is pencil signed and titled, and stamped verso Made in Austria. New York: Evening on the East River was printed by the artist on ivory wove paper and bears the red stamp of the Friedl Pollak Collection is in the lower left corner of the paper. This color etching was published by Rudolph Lesch and the reference is Triton catalogue 51. The platemark measures 11-15/16 x 17-3/8 inches.
The iconic Brooklyn Bridge spans the East River connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City. The bridge was approved in 1869 and took fourteen years to build. It was the first steel suspension bridge in the U.S. and has a span of 1,600 feet. It is known for its beautifully designed granite towers and dramatic steel cables. In Evening on the East River Pollak portrays Manhattan’s skyline but his focus is on the dynamic Brooklyn Bridge and the commerce of barges and ships on the East River, both important links to the vitality of New York.
In this time of catastrophic events, we are fortunate that Max Pollak and other artists left visual records of so many historic and beautiful sites. Manhattan certainly is among them and Pollak captured the pulse and beauty of this island city.
Max Pollak, painter and printmaker, was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1886. He was raised in Vienna and, in 1902, he entered the Vienna Academy of Art where he studied under William Unger and Ferdinand Schmutzer. In 1912, Pollak traveled to Italy, France, and Holland to study and paint. During the First World War, he was appointed painter of the Austrian Army.
He immigrated to the U.S. in 1927, living for a time on the East Coast where he produced a series of color aquatints of New York, Cincinnati, and Detroit. His first exhibition was at the 57th Street Art Gallery in New York and he was commissioned by Theodore Dreiser in 1929 to illustrate his book, My City. In 1938, Pollak and his wife, Friedl, moved to San Francisco, California. Pollak was inspired by his new city and its environs and produced beautiful views of San Francisco Bay Area. Later travels included trips to Mexico and Guatemala.
Max Pollak was a member of the Chicago Society of Etchers and the California Society of Etchers. His work is in the Oakland Museum of California Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the British Museum, the Judah L. Magnes Museum, and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.