Gateway to the Waterfront, Yonkers, New York, View of Palisades, Half Moon and City Hall

Richard Haas (American, b. 1936)
MediumWatercolor on paper, on mat board
Dimensions32 × 48 5/8 inches
CreditGift of Max Munn, 2008. Art © Richard Haas / Licensed by VAGA at Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY.
Accession Number2008.09.07

In this study for a historical mural in downtown Yonkers, Richard Haas exercised his skills in artistic illusion to create views though faux archways to Hudson River and into the past. At the same time, figures standing and seated on boulders appear to project toward the viewer. On the left Henry Hudson’s Half Moon is anchored in front of the Palisades. The tiny canoe that the Lenape paddle to greet the large ship suggests a balance of power over the land that is an ominous note in the otherwise placid scene. In the right arch, Dutch traders exchange furs with the Native American Lenape.

Haas’s public art appears in cities all over the world. At the scale of an outdoor mural, his device of mediating figures who break the theatrical fourth wall was particularly effective for city dwellers walking through downtown Yonkers. The building with this scene was condemned and torn down in 2016, though other murals are still in place. There are plans to recreate the lost artwork in a new location in Yonkers.