LOCAL LORE: Brookland in Art

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Brookland, D.C. by Edgar Hewitt Nye

While doing some online research a few years ago, I came across this painting. It was titled “Brookland, DC,” but had no artist’s name, no dates, no useful information of any sort. After trying many different searches over the years, I finally traced it. The artist is Edgar Hewitt Nye (1879 - 1943). Nye lived, worked and taught in Washington for 58 years.  

Edgar Nye at work on a mural for the Department of Agriculture, 1926.   

Photo: Library of Congress

Nye studied at the Corcoran school here, then studied overseas for 13 years. Returning to DC, he lived first on Bryant Street NW off North Capitol, then at 1008 Taylor Street NE in Brookland.

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1008 Taylor Street NE

Primarily a landscape artist, Nye’s works hang in the National Museum of American Art, the Philips Collection, Georgetown University and the Corcoran Gallery. He painted many scenes of Washington.

From an auction website I found these details of this particular work: “ Oil on artist board, signed lower left and located on paper label on reverse: 'Brookland, D.C. (off Bunker Hill Road). Vicinity now a well built up residential section.'” It’s hard to tell the exact location, but there was a creek that ran on the north side of Bunker Hill Road from today’s Perry Street to 18th Street. My guess would be it’s a view from near today’s Michigan Avenue and 14th Street looking south toward Bunker Hill. 

© Robert Malesky 2017