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 served 750,000 people daily before Covid 19 for travel within the New York metro area.
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 mystery and an excitement of people moving to destinations known to them and unknown to us.
This magnificent painting has transformed into a comfort to us during Covid for the memory
of pleasurable tension of a visit to a place most of us will not soon see (again, ever again, ever).