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The 100 best paintings in New York: 60-51

Leading artists, gallery owners, curators and critics pick the best paintings to be seen in NYC

By Time Out New York contributors
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Early Sunday Morning (1930), Edward Hopper
Early Sunday Morning (1930), Edward Hopper
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.426 © Whitney Museum, N.Y.

60. Early Sunday Morning (1930), Edward Hopper

Where can I see it?: Whitney Museum of American Art

One of the most iconic works by one of New York’s most iconic artists, this piece was described by the man himself as “almost a literal translation of Seventh Avenue.” Though Hopper was a realist, he often pared down his subjects, simplifying them to their essential forms organized by strong geometry.—Heather Corcoran

Photograph: Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.426 © Whitney Museum, N.Y.

Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942–43), Piet Mondrian
Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942–43), Piet Mondrian
Peter Horree / Alamy

59. Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942–43), Piet Mondrian

Where can I see it?: Museum of Modern Art

Mondrian came to New York in 1940, fleeing the Nazi invasion of his native Holland. He died here four years later, and though he probably didn’t know it at the time, his brief sojourn would have a lasting, if delayed, impact on American art. Though AbEx put the U.S. on the map, Minimalism was to become our most enduring stylistic export, and its rigorous, reductive geometry owed a lot to Mondrian’s De Stijl aesthetic. Broadway Boogie Woogie, his second-to-last painting, is a love letter to his adopted home, inspired by jazz and the energy of the Gotham’s streets—a strangely prescient, if abstract, portrait of the city as the center of a nascent superpower.-—Howard Halle

Peter Horree / Alamy

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The Progress of Love (1772), Jean Honore Fragonard
The Progress of Love (1772), Jean Honore Fragonard
Photograph: Michael Bodycomb

58. The Progress of Love (1772), Jean Honore Fragonard

Where can I see it?: The Frick Collection

This enveloping room of Fragonard’s paintings about love is furnished and decorated in the Rococo style. In this cycle, he chronicles the pursuit of the object of desire through courtship, to marriage, to remembrance of earlier intensity. Bystanders within the paintings such as sculptures and animals reinforce his message and enhance the emotional thrust.—Jennifer Coates

Photograph: Michael Bodycomb

Suprematist Composition: White on White (1918), Kazimir Malevich
Suprematist Composition: White on White (1918), Kazimir Malevich
Photograph: Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, NY. 1935 Acquisition confirmed in 1999 by agreement with the Estate of Kazimir Malevich and made possible with funds from the Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest (by exchange)

57. Suprematist Composition: White on White (1918), Kazimir Malevich

Where can I see it?: Museum of Modern Art

Though it was painted nearly a century ago, this painting’s radical nature continues to astonish. Malevich’s aim wasn’t pure reductivism, though. Inspired by Russia’s icon tradition, the early Soviet avant-gardist believed that the Russian Revolution had ushered in a new age in which materialism would give way to spirituality. He called his philosophy Suprematism, and White on White serves as the supreme manifestation of the artist reaching for transcendence.—Howard Halle

Photograph: Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, NY. 1935 Acquisition confirmed in 1999 by agreement with the Estate of Kazimir Malevich and made possible with funds from the Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest (by exchange)

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Sunflowers (1887), Vincent van Gogh
Sunflowers (1887), Vincent van Gogh
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Rogers Fund

56. Sunflowers (1887), Vincent van Gogh

Where can I see it?: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Painted in Paris shortly after Van Gogh met Paul Gauguin—the artist gave it to his friend as a gift—this version from the “Sunflowers” series is a precursor to his ecstatic paintings of sunflowers in vases. The high-summer, bright yellow palette of those famous paintings is tempered here into darker hues, as the flowers lay cut and withering but equally rife with the painter’s intensity.—Jennifer Coates

Photograph: Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Rogers Fund

Soap Bubbles (1733–34), Jean-Baptiste-Simon Chardin
Soap Bubbles (1733–34), Jean-Baptiste-Simon Chardin
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Wentworth Fund

55. Soap Bubbles (1733–34), Jean-Baptiste-Simon Chardin

Where can I see it?: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chardin was something of an anomaly among mid-18th-century French artists: He was largely self-taught at a time when academic training was de rigueur, created modest still lifes and domestic scenes when grand history paintings were in demand, and eschewed the florid pirouettes of the period’s Rococo for a sober style reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch art. For years, he avoided figure studies because he thought he wasn’t very good at them; Soap Bubbles, one of his first, proved him wrong. He depicts children at play, a subject he returned to probably because he shared youngsters’ wonder at contemplating the world. But their innocent frolic is weighed down by a suggestion of life’s transience, found in the eponymous orb trembling at the tip of the boy’s pipe.—Howard Halle 

Photograph: Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Wentworth Fund

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The Harvesters (1565), Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Harvesters (1565), Pieter Bruegel the Elder

54. The Harvesters (1565), Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Where can I see it?: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Bruegel’s fanfare for the common man is considered one of the defining works of Western art, but it wasn’t always so. Sought out by patrons in his own lifetime, Bruegel emphasized the ordinary in a way that made him seem old-fashioned in the years following his death; his reputation remained in eclipse until 20th-century tastes revived his quotidian subject matter and vast, cinematic vistas. This composition was one of six created on the theme of the seasons. The time is probably early September: A group of peasants on the left cut and bundle ripened wheat, while the ones on the right take their midday meal. It was extraordinary for a time when landscapes served mostly as backdrops for religious paintings. Instead, Bruegel articulates a humanistic vision in which the ordinary outshines the divine.—Howard Halle 

M’Amenez-y (1920), Francis Picabia
M’Amenez-y (1920), Francis Picabia
Photograph: Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art; NY. © 2015 Salvador Dalí; Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation / ARS; New York

53. M’Amenez-y (1920), Francis Picabia

Where can I see it?: Museum of Modern Art

Picabia was Modernism’s original bad boy, a writer as well as a painter who, along with Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, helped to spread the Dada contagion from Europe to New York City. A self-described “pickpocket” and “imbecile,” Picabia was a consummate anti-artist whose love of language, especially puns, and disregard for artistic convention are on full display in this painting: It includes snarky observations about artistic craft (the phrase along the top edge translates as “portrait with castor oil,” a comparison of the foul-tasting laxative with the linseed oil used by painters), plus the machine imagery that characterized the artist’s Dadaist phase.—Howard Halle

Photograph: Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art; NY. © 2015 Salvador Dalí; Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation / ARS; New York

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Christina’s World (1948), Andrew Wyeth
Christina’s World (1948), Andrew Wyeth
Photograph: Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, NY

52. Christina’s World (1948), Andrew Wyeth

Where can I see it?: Museum of Modern Art

Depending on whom you ask, Andrew Wyeth is either one of America’s greatest artists or a master of kitsch, and Christina’s World—a portrait of Christina Olsen, Wyeth’s disabled neighbor in Maine—is a tour de force of realist painting or an exercise in glib sentimentality. Either way, Wyeth stubbornly bucked the avant-garde tastes of his day, which helped cement him as a renegade.—Anne Doran  

Photograph: Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, NY

Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962), Andy Warhol
Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962), Andy Warhol
Photograph: Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, NY. © 2015 Andy Warhol Foundation / ARS, NY / TM Licensed by Campbell's Soup Co. All rights reserved.

51. Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962), Andy Warhol

Where can I see it?: Museum of Modern Art

In 1960, Andy Warhol, then a successful illustrator, began to make paintings based on advertising and comic-book images. Two years later he produced this group of canvases, which depicts all 32 varieties of soup available at that time from the Campbell Soup Company. Each canvas was silkscreened with the same basic image, to which Warhol added the name of the individual flavor by hand. The work’s nonpainterly style, bold colors and commercial subject matter came to define Pop Art.—Anne Doran 

Photograph: Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, NY. © 2015 Andy Warhol Foundation / ARS, NY / TM Licensed by Campbell's Soup Co. All rights reserved.

Continue to numbers 50-41 in our list of the 100 best paintings
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