Grand Central Terminal: An Early December Noon in the Main Concourse, and details; 2009-2012; oil on linen.
Exhibited at the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, 2016/2017, on loan from the Lewis-Dreyfus Family Collection.
Stone Roberts, American, born 1951.
Built in 1913 by Cornelius Vanderbilt to cover 43 acres in the Beaux Arts style, the station serves 750,000 people daily. The station has a vaulted ceiling painted a cerulean blue depicting mythical figures now set among the stars. The history, ‘secret’ places and lore of this building is vast enough, and its maintenance complex enough, and, most important, its public use widespread enough for the building to be, almost, a living organism.
It seems to have its own climate, also: sunny for the light reflecting off its floors and walls and the gilt encasing its enormous windows; and the Milky Way calm of the sea-sky blue of its vaulted ceiling.
Stone Roberts’ portrait succeeds in portraying both the grand internal architecture of this building and its success in accommodating people going about their ordinary business: a calm and a tension of people waiting and watching; a mystery of people moving to destinations known to them and unknown to us.
Of all the stations I know, I love Grand Central Station most.
I have never had reason to use it as a train station. I go there for the pleasure of the golden light especially of a December morning.
A gift to us from Stone Roberts for a moment of imaginary and sensuous pleasure on any of our days, at any time, wherever we are!