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View, New York City, Columbus Circle, Erection of Skyscraper, Mortimer Borne, Vintage Print, 1940


Mortimer Borne (1902-1987)
Columbus Circle, Erection of Skyscraper 1940
New York: c. 1940
Drypoint etching
Titled and dated in pencil lower margin center in unknown hand, possibly the artist
Signed in pencil lower right
11.75 x 10 inches, plate mark
13.75 x 11 inches, overall

View of the construction of a skyscraper in Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, with Central Park in the background. The artist emphasizes the geometry of the steel girders being lifted into place framing the workmen on various floors. Apart from the aesthetic interest of the subject, the print can also be seen as homage to the American worker, a major subject of American art during the 1930s, as the country struggled to recover from the Depression. During this period, skyscrapers were also seen as optimistic symbols of the economic development of New York.

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Mortimer Borne was an etcher, painter and sculptor, as well as an educator, writer and lecturer. Born in Rypin, Poland, he emigrated to New York City in 1916 and studied at the National Academy of Design, Art Students League and Beaux-Art Institute of Design. Borne became best known as a printmaker, and was the originator of the “color drypoint” technique printed with three plates. From the 1920s through the 40s he was a prolific producer of New York City cityscapes and genre scenes. In later decades, he adopted a more modernist style apparently influenced by Picasso, producing color drypoints of abstracted figures. His works were widely exhibited in museums in the U.S. and abroad from 1931 and later, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, New York Public Library, Carnegie Institute, and Royal Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers in London. He taught at The New School for Social Research in New York City from 1945-1967, and at the Tappan Zee Art Center, which he established in Nyack, New York after moving there. Borne was a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists. His prints are the subject of the book Borne: Drypoints, Etchings, Color Drypoints by R.S. Biran (New York: Abaris Books, 1980). Today his works are in numerous museums around the U.S., including a large collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Condition: Generally very good to fine, with barely any toning or wear. Margins cut a little irregular, with margin on left a little short, probably as issued; nonetheless all margins ample for framing to show platemark and some white margin.


Gilbert, Dorothy B., ed. Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts and R.R. Bowker, 1959. p. 62.

“Mortimer Borne.” 2002-2005. (22 November 2005).

Additional information


20th Century