Abraham Walkowitz became an advocate for modernism in the United States after encountering the work of the Parisian avant-garde during a trip to Europe in 1906. He liberally experimented with ideas he derived from Cubism and Futurism, combining aspects of both into his own visual vocabulary. One of his favorite subjects was New York, and in 1914 he began a series of abstract cityscapes that capture the dizzying energy of the metropolitan rush. “I am seeking to attune my art to what I feel to be the keynote of an experience,” Walkowitz wrote about works such as Improvisation of New York City. “If it brings to me a harmonious sensation, I then try to find the concrete elements that are likely to record the sensation in visual forms, in the medium of lines, of color shapes, of space division.” Walkowitz also had a lifelong love of music, which is carried over into the rhythmic patterns of this painting.
Label from Picasso: The Artist and His Models, November 5, 2016–February 19, 2017