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View, New York City, Upper East Side, Woldemar Neufeld, Hell Gate at Night, Vintage Print, 20th C.


Woldemar Neufeld (1909-2002)
Hell Gate at Night
American: 3rd Quarter 20th Century
Color-printed linocut, 59/100
Titled, signed and numbered lower margin, initialed in block lower right
Provenance: Purchased directly from the artist by the previous owner
12.25 x 18.25 inches, image
16.5 x 22.5 inches, overall

Colorful bird’s-eye view with Carl Schurz Park and Gracie Mansion in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the foreground, and the East River and RFK Triborough Bridge and the Hell Gate Bridge in the background. The title of the print does not mention Carl Schurz Park, but it is clearly identifiable. A few silhouetted figures walk in the park, but the main focus of the print is the shimmering river and the bright lights of the Triborough Bridge, which is picked up in the bright orange glow of the windows of Gracie Mansion and the yellow rays of the park’s street lamps. With a limited color palette, Neufeld eloquently conveys the time of day.  This is labeled in the artist’s hand as an artist’s proof, which means it is unique and not part of an edition.

Bounded by 84th and 89th Streets, East End Avenue, and the East River, Carl Schurz Park was originally planned by landscape architects Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons, Jr., in 1888 and named for statesman and journalist Carl Schurz in 1910.  Gracie Mansion, built in 1799, is on the park grounds and has served as the official residence of the Mayor of New York City since 1942. Hell Gate is a narrow strait in the East River between Queens and Ward’s Island, across the river from the Upper East Side of Manhattan between 90th and 100th Streets. It was named by a 17th-century Dutch explorer for its circling currents which are tricky to navigate. The Hell Gate Bridge is an imposing steel arch railroad bridge built in 1917 and still in use by passenger and freight trains. The RFK Triborough Bridge, which opened in 1936, is a complex of highway bridges and elevated viaducts that connects the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx.

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Woldemar Neufeld was an artist primarily known for his oils, watercolors, and block prints. He spent his teen and young adult years in Canada, and most of his adult life in the U.S., but remained a beloved artist there, the subject of exhibitions in 2009 to celebrate the centenary of his birth. Neufeld was born in Waldheim, Russia, to a family of German Mennonite descent that immigrated to Canada in 1924 after his father was executed amid the political turmoil following the Russian Revolution and his mother remarried. He attended a preparatory school on what is now the Wilfred Laurier University campus followed by study at Ontario College of Art. He continued his studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art and earned a B.S. in art education from Case Western Reserve University.

In 1945, Neufeld moved from Cleveland to the Upper East Side of New York City, where he became known as the “artist laureate of the East River,” recording his impressions of the waterfront neighborhoods in oils, watercolor and block prints. He served as art director of the East River Artists from 1948 to 1975. In 1976, his works were shown in New York City at the South Street Seaport Museum in an exhibit titled “Yesterday’s Lower Manhattan.”

In 1949, Neufeld purchased a farm in New Milford, Connecticut, where he was based for the rest of his life, though he maintained a New York studio until 1980. In New Milford he opened a studio, gallery and — until 1965 — a summer art school, and focused his own artistic efforts on landscape painting inspired by the Housatonic River Valley countryside. He was a member of Connecticut’s Silvermine Guild and participated in their exhibitions including a one-person show in 1957.

Even after his death, Neufeld remains a popular artist in the Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto areas of Ontario where he spent his early years and associated with Canada’s leading artists as a young man in the 1920s and ’30s. The largest collection of his work — some 400 pieces — belongs to the Permanent Art Collection at Wilfred Laurier University, where he received an honorary doctorate in 1988. It has produced a catalog of his paintings and block prints, Woldemar Neufeld’s Canada: A Mennonite Artist in the Canadian Landscape 1925-1995 (2002). The City of Waterloo and Conrad Grebel College also hold collections of his work, some of which appear in the book Waterloo Portfolio: Woldemar Neufeld’s Paintings of Waterloo, Ontario (1982). His works are also in numerous American museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Condition: Generally fine overall, the colors bright, with minor toning, wear, handling. This print had been purchased directly from Neufeld by the former owner, and formed part of a large collection of his works. Relatively, this is one of Neufeld’s larger prints.


Evans, Jeffrey B. “A Short History of Carl Schurz Park.” Carl Schurz Park Conservancy. (17 June 2019).

Gilbert, Dorothy B., ed. Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts and R.R. Bowker, 1959. p. 419.

Helsen, Marc Miquel. “Woldemar Neufeld Art Gets Its Own Gallery.” Woolwich and Wellesley Townships Observer. 19 June 2009. (31 May 2019).

“Carl Schurz Park, John Finley Walk.” NYC Parks. (25 July 2019).

“Neufeld, Woldemar Heinrich (1909-2002).” Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1996-2019.,_Woldemar_Heinrich_(1909-2002) (31 May 2019).

“Woldemar Neufeld.” Wilfrid Laurier University, Robert Langen Art Gallery, Collections. 2011. (22 September 2011).

“Woldemar Neufeld 1909-2002.” Housatonic Valley Association. (22 September 2011).

“Work of Woldemar Neufeld displays Yesterday’s Manhattan in Whitinsville.” The Pulse Magazine. 28 August 2018. (31 May 2019).

Additional information


20th Century