The artist name is Raphael Gleitsman. He was born in Dayton, OH in 1910 and died in Akron, OH in 1995. The name of the painting is WINTER EVENING, made in 1932. The medium is oil on fiberboard. It measures 39 in. x 44 in. (969.06 cm. x 111.76 cm.). This composition is on display the Akron Art Museum in Akron, OH.
The picture is of a winter evening in downtown Akron, OH. The foreground consists of snow, people including adults and children, along with a person walking a dog. The foreground also consists of a mail box, automobiles, street cars or trollies, light post and a traffic light. The middle ground is made up of buildings including a drugstore, bowling alley, hat store, dry cleaners, and a Coca Cola lit billboard. The background is made of dark clouds covering 1/3 of the picture. There are also building structures in the background with a sky scraping structure reaching the skyline.
There are multiple light sources in this painting. There is a natural light source from the moon which is depicted in the shades and openings in the clouds. In the left middle ground there is a reddish brown color that appears that it could be a sunset. There is also artificial light coming from the street lamp post, the lighting inside the building structures, along with the lighted signs on the outside of the buildings. Artificial light is coming from the automobiles headlights, the street car or trollies interior and headlights as well.
The value of the picture is predominately neutral colors of browns, black, white, and gray. The foreground consists of whites and grays to create the snow. Small hints of red are used for a hat, and a shade of red for a coat. The use of green a secondary color along with primary colors of red and yellow are used for the traffic light. There are different shades of brown that is used in the picture to help to create a since of lighting in the middle ground. Broken short and long white lines are used to create the depth and snow on the ledges of the building. Analogous colors of yellow and green are used on the street car or trollies as well. Hints of red and yellow are on the signs for lighting and lettering. The primary color of a shade of yellow is used to create dim lighting in the windows of the building structures to complete the middle ground.
The background consists of black, white, gray, including a tint and a shade of blue to create the sky. The buildings in the background use tints of gray to show the height of the building and shades of gray and black to create perspective of distance. Small yellow and white brushstrokes are used to create windows and light. Black is also used to show the birds in the center of the background. The sky also has a small section of brown in the lower left corner of the background blending over into the lower right corner as well.
The texture created in the foreground is soft and cold due to the snow. There is also softness with dog in the foreground. The automobiles and the street cars or in the foreground are made of metal, which creates a hard smooth texture. The middle ground is made of building structures, and with the color of brown it appears to be brick, which creates a rough bumpy surface. The background has a soft texture created by the clouds using curved lines, and the roughness of the sky scraping building. The birds also help with the soft feeling.
The lines of the foreground make the eye travel diagonally from the lower left corner to the upper right corner. The thick straight lines created to illustrate the tracks for the street cars or trollies help with the diagonal direction from lower left to upper right corner. The lines begin to curve and fade creating perspective and distance. When looking at the middle ground the eye moves vertically due to lines of the buildings. The center corner building has a metal structure, which contributes to the movement of the eyes. The background moves the eye horizontally from left to right as well as vertically with the lines of the sky scraper.
There is a repeated pattern of rectangle shapes to create windows throughout the buildings. The rectangles are used in the shape of the building structures, along with the street cars or trollies in the foreground. The use rectangles repeat in the middle ground to create buildings at a distance to the buildings to the left of the center building, as well as the buildings in the background to the right. In the background rectangles are used to create the sky scraper. The use of automobiles, street cars or trollies, and people are used repetitively to create a feeling of crowdedness. The buildings are repeated throughout to create a setting of downtown. There is the usage of the shade of yellow to create artificial light showing the building structures are in usage. Broken lines are repeated to create diagonal movement, and snow on the ledges of the buildings. Signs are repeated throughout to show the building structures to be businesses.
Contrast is created in the foreground with the soft, wet snow and the hard smooth automobiles. The people are wearing coats and appear to be warm which creates contrast with the cold winter evening. There is repetitive contrast created by the automobiles on wheels, and the street cars or trollies on tracks. There are those that are walking and those that are driving or riding. In the middle ground contrast is created with the light in the windows opposed to the dark windows containing no light. The is also the smooth stone on the bottom of the building structure with the upper level that appears to be brick, rough and bumpy located in the left of the foreground. The background has contrast with the softness, and curved lines of the clouds and the straight, smooth, vertical lines of the skyscraper that extends off the canvas.
The scale and proportion of the warmer shades of neutral colors in the middle ground overtake the dark tint of the clouds in the background covering 1/3 of the composition. Scale and proportion are also created in the usage of the different shapes of the building structures. There are larger buildings in the foreground with a sky scraper in the background. The balance of the composition is informal. The warm shades of the neutral colors against the white and gray of the foreground creates proportions of space. Space is also created with the middle ground against the darker tints in the background.
Once known as ‘Big Town’, this painting documents Akron’s bustling Main Street in the 1930s. Akron and the rest of the nation was suffering an economic depression, but Gleitsmann created a cheery scene by painting animated figures, chugging street cars and patches of bright yellow light radiating from building interiors. The portrait gives me the feel that Akron, OH downtown was the place to be in the 1930’s. Being from Akron and hearing about the success of the rubber industry in those days I can get a feel of what the city was like in that time frame. The Ohio weather is depicted in the sky with the hints of the brown. It creates the feel of a sunset or warmth on a cold winter evening, and if you are a local you never know what to expect with the weather. The lights, vehicles and traffic of the people make the picture seem that it could be the strip in Las Vegas minus the snow.
The picture gives off a feeling of prosperity of downtown Akron. It makes me feel proud of my hometown, and shows me what locals are made of. Akron is always depicted as a hardworking man’s city, but this picture shows the business side of things. The picture almost translates to what is going on downtown Akron at this time with the acquisitions and building that The University of Akron is making. It makes me proud to be an Akronite!
My judgment of the composition would be that it was a success. The way the artist painted the winter evening in Akron, OH is very accurate. He did a great job of showing the people in the streets shopping in snowy weather with coats, and appearing to be comfortable. The automobiles, and street cars or trollies moving show that even though it was the evening business was still booming. The various business show the diversity of the choices patrons had downtown. The sky scraper in the background along with the dark shaded buildings gave a great perception of depth. I like the painting because it shows Akron, OH my home town booming and thriving. I like the picture, because I can relate to the picture as well as how he used the dark colors to create beauty. The picture shows the beauty of the snow as well as the way the community operates. Seeing the picture makes me want to know what intersection inspired the painting. I think that the picture looks like it may be on the corner of Exchange and Main.