Bronx, New York–For some thirty years, Bronx-born artist Daniel Hauben has found his muse no further away than the edifices, subway stations, and skylines adjacent to avenues like Fordham Road, the Grand Concourse, and the streets surrounding Yankee Stadium.
Now Hauben brings his unique artistic vision to the crowning achievement of his career thus far—the twenty-two oil paintings of Bronx life he calls A Sense of Place, which will permanently hang in Bronx Community College’s new North Hall and Library. The college is part of the City University of New York. The 100,000 square-foot new building was completed in early September. The formal ribbon cutting ceremony for the building takes place September 21, 2012 at 9 a.m.
“The Bronx is comprised of layers of stories, of history, evolution, and of cultures,” says Hauben. “It’s this mix that fascinates me.” Hauben’s series consists of twenty frieze paintings mounted along the balcony encircling the new “information commons,” and two ten-foot paintings that adorn the main stairwells leading from the lobby to the building’s second floor.
His subjects range from views of the Burnside Avenue station of the number-four train to classic images of the Hall of Fame of Great Americans and the dome of the Gould Memorial Library, both structures designed by Stanford White for what at the time was New York University’s University Heights campus. Common threads connect these disparate slices of Bronx life: their bursts of color and dynamism and a hefty helping of the surreal, which infuses Hauben’s work.
“My favorite painter is Pieter Bruegel the Elder—the great Flemish Renaissance painter, with his mix of landscape and urban imagery. His people have such personality, and they reflect the environment he sets them in. That’s what I have been trying to do in my Bronx scenes. Even though I’ve painted all over the world, I always find inspiration in the Bronx.”