Allies Day, May 1917, 1917
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Gift of Ethelyn McKinney in memory of her brother, Glenn Ford McKinney
oil on canvas
A patriotic whirlwind overtook midtown Manhattan as America entered World War I in the spring of 1917. Childe Hassam painted this scene of Fifth Avenue aflutter with the British Union Jack, the French Tricolor, and the Stars and Stripes, dedicating it to “the coming together of [our] three peoples in the fight for democracy.” Hassam was strongly influenced by the impressionists, having studied in Paris from 1886–1889. In many ways, Allies Day resembles the boulevard paintings of Monet and Pissarro, but rather than using daubs of shimmering pigment, he applied fluid parallel paint strokes to give the work its architectural form.