Painted in February 1907, Pennsylvania Excavation depicts the site preparation for the construction of Pennsylvania Station in midtown Manhattan. The creation of this railroad station and the system of tunnels it crowned transformed New York City by connecting it to a national transportation and commercial network. The painting was as revolutionary as the event it portrays. When it was first exhibited at the National Academy of Design it was described in the New York Sun as a great gaping wound in the dirty earth and helped establish George Bellows' reputation as a brash young artist advancing a new kind of realism. His gritty views of New York's neighborhoods and people, drawn from everyday life, associated him with an early twentieth-century movement that came to be known as the Ashcan School.
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mary Gordon Roberts, class of 1960, in honor of the 50th reunion of her class
ID Number: SC 2010:11