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The 100 best paintings in New York: Brooklyn Museum

Discover which of the 100 best paintings in New York can be found at the Brooklyn Museum

Written by
Time Out New York contributors

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the Brooklyn Museum in NYC

A Peaceable Kingdom (1833–34), Edward Hicks

Rank: 29

A sign painter–turned–Quaker minister and artist, Edward Hicks painted dozens of versions of this iconic celebration of peaceful coexistence. Inspired by a Biblical passage foretelling a time when the wolf, the lamb, the leopard and the goat will live in harmony, Hicks extended the détente to Native Americans and settlers with a version of William Penn making a treaty in the background. Hicks’s pop-eyed lion and leopard don’t look convinced by the new order, but the artist’s folk-art style and hopeful ideology charm, nevertheless.—Merrily Kerr

Artwork: Courtesy Brooklyn Museum

Monet’s Salle à Manger Jaune (2012), Mickalene Thomas

Rank: 23

Borrowing from 19th- and 20th-century Western art, African-American artist Mickalene Thomas adapts pictoral tropes to bold, rhinestone-encrusted enamel-and-acrylic depiction of luxe interiors and colorful landscapes in this portrayal of Claude Monet’s house, where Mickalene resided in 2011.—Anne Doran

Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Museum, A. Augustus Healy Fund, 2012.73a-b. © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York and Hong Kong


Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps (2005), Kehinde Wiley

Rank: 22

In his celebratory portraits of ordinary black men and women, Kehinde Wiley redresses a Western cultural history that does not acknowledge their experience. His subjects—generally strangers encountered on the street—are depicted in poses they’ve chosen from Old Masters paintings, typically against ornate backgrounds. Here Wiley appropriates Jacques Louis David’s Bonaparte Crossing the Alps at Grand-Saint-Bernard (1800–01), substituting the figure of Napoleon for one of a man in camouflage and Timberlands.—Anne Doran

Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Museum, Collection of Suzi and Andrew B. Cohen , L2005.6. © Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

Heat (1919), Florine Stettheimer

Rank: 17

Wealthy, eccentric and bohemian spinsters, the fabulous Stettheimer sisters hosted midtown salons that attracted the likes of fellow artists Marcel Duchamp and Georgia O’Keeffe. Florine herself painted fanciful scenes like Heat, which depicts the sisters languidly wilting at a birthday party for their mother. Quirky details, such as a kitten clawing at the artist’s wrist in the lower right or what appears to be the Brooklyn Bridge in the upper left, combine with a sure sense of the decorative to reveal a pioneering female artist blazing her own path.—Joseph Wolin

Artwork: Courtesy Brooklyn Museum


A Storm in the Rocky Mountains (1866), Albert Bierstadt

Rank: 5

Manifest Destiny is both an integral part of American identity and also a source of everlasting national shame. This sense is captured perfectly in Albert Bierstadt’s A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, which the artist completed three years after traveling through and sketching the eponymous terrain. Although Bierstadt took some license with the landscape—it’s not actually this Game of Thrones–y—he manages to capture the grandeur that must’ve struck Western migrants dumb as they pushed aside the Native Americans on their way to the Pacific.—Drew Toal

Artwork: Courtesy Brooklyn Museum

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