Poetic License

What do a painting commissioned in 1943, poet William Carlos Williams, and the World Trade Center have in common? Read on to find out.

View Under Bridge by Eyvind Earle.
Courtesy of Bertolino Arts.

Daphne Williams-Fox knew she needed to find a special home for the mammoth painting she inherited from her famous grandfather, New Jersey poet, doctor, and Pulitzer-winner William Carlos Williams. What place could be more special than 1 World Trade Center, the new tower being erected in lower Manhattan?

In 1943, Williams commissioned his nephew, painter Eyvind Earle, to create the 13-by-6-foot work, titled View Under Bridge, which the poet hung above a landing in his Rutherford home.

“My grandfather understood what it was to be an artist,” says Williams-Fox, who has kept the painting in storage for most of the past fifteen years. “He wanted Eyvind to know it was okay for him to just travel and paint. Commissioning this was his way of saying ‘I’ll support you.’” Earle went on to gain fame, especially as a background illustrator for Disney, where he created the whimsical scenery in Sleeping Beauty and other films.
Earle’s painting, which will be on permanent loan to 1 World Trade when the building is complete, has been brought back to its original luster by Andrew Bertolino, an art restorer from Medford. “It’s just got an energy about it—everyday people, industry—that fits perfectly with 1 World Trade,” says Bertolino.

“The most important thing to my grandfather, and in his writing, were the people he felt closest to—the average, everyday working person,” says Williams-Fox. “He wanted a scene of lower Manhattan, but he made sure it showed the people.”

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