New England Quarry, Ridgefield, Connecticut
A landscape artist’s work begins with the same choices: where and what to paint. This sliver of blue sky and the meandering foreground stream in this painting suggest that a short walk might have yielded very different subjects for George J. Stengel. The site of factories and quarries would have been familiar to Stengel, who spent most of his life as a carpet designer in Yonkers.
The rocky topography of the Hudson Valley and eastward into Connecticut meant easy access to stone for building cities and towns. Nestled in the rural countryside that attracted Stengel to retire to Ridgefield were areas scarred by years of quarrying. With the sheer cut of man-made pit taking up most of his canvas and pollution billowing from multiple chimneys, the artist offers the viewer little respite from a bleak scene.