I saw this article by David Gonzalez on André Kertész‘ images of Washington Square recently in the Times. The images brought back a lot of memories. I lived with my mother in an apartment on Washington Square for a couple of years before I was 9. My grandmother used to take me to run under the fountain in Washington Square Park when I was 4 and 5. It was long enough ago that I was wading in the water in my underwear (acceptable then). I still have fond memories of running around in the pool and the fountain. Kertész moved there in 1952. I was a child there from about 1946 to 1950. But my memories are of being a very small child in the park.
The photo is in winter, but the pool in the background is the one I loved as a child.
From David Gonzalez:
Perched inside his apartment 12 stories above Washington Square Park, Andre Kertesz beheld a cityscape of trees, rooftops and snow-covered paths. Caught between distance and intimacy, his images revealed with affection and longing a Hungarian émigré who was an outsider in his adopted land.
“There is a kind of psychological component to it,” Robert Gurbo, his estate’s curator, told Lens in 2015, “where he is clearly looking to see what they have to see, what he has never had.”
His desire for a room with a view led him and his wife, Elizabeth, in 1952 to the Greenwich Village apartment whose vistas offered a panoply of light, lines, shadows and textures…. Washington Square Park’s trees and paths marked the change of seasons, while the skyline had the no-nonsense flavor of postwar New York, before sharp-angled steel and glass towers began soaring ever higher. Some images are rendered in quick, visual strokes: shadows on a brick wall contrasted against a skeletal tree, or snowfall reducing a scene to a sketchlike abstraction.
This the copy of the Arc De Triomphe in Paris that’s at the park entrance. It looked even bigger when I was little. And far more romantic.
All of these images evoke strong memories for me.