George Macrum

George Macrum, a student of tonalist painter Birge Harrison, intermittently maintained his studio at East 23rd Street, not far from Maidson Square. Over the course of his career he painted a series of images of his picturesque site. Named for the fourth president, James A. Madison, the square’s six acres ewre landscaped in 1870; the original double row of English elms still ornaments the north and south walkway. The square’s geometrically shaped lawns and occasional benches under a canopy of trees provide a tranquil valley in a canyon of stone dominated by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower. The sporty automobile seen at lower right is a reminder of the impulse toward moderization then astir in early 20th century New York and suggests the social prestige that city residents attached to this emblem of speed and prosperity.