Cityscapes: Yvonne Jacquette

Yvonne Jacquette (American, b.1934) grew up in a large family, and remembers looking up at the ceiling and down at the ground as a kind of escape from the chaos.  She first became interested in painting aerial views when she took an airplane trip to visit her parents in California. Later she began to charter helicopters to circle above New York and other cities, taking photographs and sketching with pastels with the helicopter door open. She says that the noise would be so terrific that communication with the pilot was almost impossible.

Jacquette isn't after atmospheric effects, and says her sense of bold and flat design is partially derived from her interest in Japanese woodcuts. Her compositions seem very sectioned off, the cropping sometimes harsh- we are always aware that there is much more to a view than she shows.

There is a storybook quality to her work, an intentional naivety in the lack of atmosphere and in flattened forms- but the charm is balanced with a sophisticated sense of composition and color.

Yvonne Jacquette was married to the photographer Rudy Burckhardt for 40 years, both of them finding their main inspiration from New York City. While Burckhardt would try and minimize the scale of the buildings and emphasize the life of the people on the streets, the buildings themselves have always held the most interest for Jacquette.

East River with Brooklyn Bridge oil on canvas 96"x128" 1983

Whitney Museum Under Construction oil on linen 49"x71" 2013 

Dusk Descending, 2000 color lithograph 2000

Filaments of Light woodcut  2000

Vertiginous World Financial Center III  oil on canvas 53"x 58" 2007

6th Ave Night, with Traffic II 
oil on canvas, 65 1/2" x 50 3/8" 2008

Galaxy of Night Lights oil on canvas  33" x 44" 2008
I’ve been a Buddhist for a long time and there’s a lot of teaching about emptiness, which isn’t nothingness, but fullness.

 I’ve always felt very involved with landscape, even as a child. It started to seem like the only real subject matter for me with a kind of absolute finality.- Yvonne Jaquette

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