Artist Daniel Hauben has been painting Bronx street scenes ifor three decades, and recently took his easel indoors to the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.
The project had Hauben stationed at the market during the first two weeks of December, capturing scenes at 2344 Arthur Avenue, which opened in the 1930s and has an old-world sensibility, in oil paint on three panels.
The Bronx-born artist lives in Kingsbridge and has a studio in Riverdale. He painted numerous scenes from the Bronx, including Bronx Vortex, a canvas that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Grand Concourse in 2009 by highlighting its intersection with the Fordham Road.
“I am a landscape painter,” Hauben said. “It just so happens that the landscapes that I paint are encrusted with the Bronx.”
When he recently visited the market with his wife, he thought that the color, texture, and shapes of the market would make for an interesting painting, Hauben said. He was especially pleased with the reaction of the workers in all the businesses who wanted immediately to be part of the painting.
“I love interacting with the people in the market, and having them share in the process,” Hauben said. “That doesn’t always happen when I am painting.”
Hauben’s painting captures the rear of the market where Mike’s Deli and Boiano Foods are located.
“The people working in the market were curious, and then they got involved and wanted to see the progress,” Hauben said. “They have their ideas about people who should be in the painting, are taking ownership of it, and feel a part of it.”
Also attracting him to the Arthur Avenue Retail Market was that it was a Depression-era building with skylights that silhouette a maze of different shapes overhead, including pipes and ornaments like a wagon wheel, before reaching a colorful ground level, Hauben said.
He painted scenes from the produce and meat sales stalls, as well as people seated at a cafe area. The painting is similar to other street scenes that he has painted in the borough, Hauben said.
“Coming from the Bronx influences my paintings because there is a lot of hustle and bustle, with layers on top of layers of buildings and people,” Hauben said. “The retail market reflects that hustle and bustle, and it is a place where people come together and meet one another”
The painting measures 54 inches wide and 24 inches high. Space for the project was donated by Mainland Media, which is leasing a stall in the market for the holiday shopping season.
Aside from selling the original painting itself, Hauben plans to have Mainland Media create high-quality prints and poster. It is entitled “Arthur Avenue Market.” They can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of the original painting. Daniel Hauben was the first artist to be featured in Mainland Media’s products, which promote a positive image of the Bronx, said Mainland Media partner Paul Ramriez.
Hauben’s work hangs in prestigious art collections around the world, including those at The White House, New York Historical Society, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, Montefiore Medical Group, Pepsico, Harvard University, Rutgers University, E.F. Hutton, and the New York Public Library.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393