Central Yonkers

George Burnham (American, 1847–1926)
1858
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions38 3/4 × 54 1/8 inches
CreditGift of Miss Harriet McDonald and the Heirs of Robert Parkhill Getty, 1941
Accession Number41.102b

Burnham paints a vignette of a peaceful 1850s’ Yonkers scene, but his view of a verdant ravine in which a cow grazes beside a stream, probably the Saw Mill River, is also interesting for what it does not show. By the time of this painting, trains had been stopping at Yonkers for almost ten years, enabling an insurgence of industrialism that far outpaced traditional commercial river traffic. If this painting does show the Saw Mill River, then a factory, harbinger a new industrial age, may possibly be just around the bend but deliberately ignored by the artist.