Howard Thain

A modernist painter born in Dallas, Texas, Howard Thain was based in New York City which he depicted in his paintings and where he studied at the Art Students League with Frank DuMond and Robert Henri. Exhibition venues included the Museum of Modern Art and the Society of Independent Artists.

He is referenced in the periodical "Ford Times", 1962, January, 'Times Square in the Twenties' as painted by Howard Thain", Author: Robert Hodesh, in color.

Howard Thain moved to New York in 1919, and he described how during the next decade he spent every moment he could in the streets recording the city and its people “who to my provincial eye seemed incredibly interesting and exotic.” His brief but prolific painting career perfectly coincided with New York’s tumultuous and booming period before the Great Depression. Thain’s contemplative paintings reveal him as a thoughtful observer of the city, writ both large and small.

A disciple of American realism, Thain’s work carried on the tradition of the Ashcan School with its subjects from everyday city life, while anticipating the urban manifestation of the American Scene movement of the 1930s. His paintings often convey the stillness, anonymity, and architectonic solidity of Edward Hopper’s urban views of the period. However, Thain ranged over a greater variety of moods and subjects. He recorded the city’s gleaming architecture, its transportation hubs, its gathering places, and their inhabitants. His work ranges from subtle irony in his views of affluent New Yorkers in opulent settings, to carefree humor as he sketched city kids entertaining each other with backyard vaudevillian antics.
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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