This landscape is representative of the kind of art that was predominately produced in Yonkers during the 19th Century. Artists were inspired by their surroundings and made the beauty of nature the focal point of their work. Their work was sold primarily to people and businesses in the city and affected city people’s view of the rural areas surrounding them. This type of representation of Yonkers and the suburbs made city dwellers view Yonkers through the lens of the artist and see an idyllic place filled with lush open fields, clear skies, and shimmering lakes. The painting above is a prime example of the utopic scenes of nature Yonkers artists were producing and wealthy urbanites were buying. In the painting a grouping of trees in a valley dominates the right side of the frame leaving just enough room to the left to let the pink and taupe dusk sky over a rolling mountain top shine through. The colors are muted and earthy, employing a palate of dark hunter green, warm golden yellow, and soft natural whites, pinks, and grey. Complimenting the warm color tones the landscape is painted with soft sweeping brush strokes. Theses esthetic elements are deliberate artistic choices to make the looking at landscape even more majestic and provide the viewer with the feeling of actually being there. The artist allows the viewer to fantasize about this place where nature is perfect and provides peace. There is an absence of man, yet it contrasts from the primal depictions of nature in which landscapes seem scary and far away from civilization. The landscape paintings exemplified by this one are meant to export the image of Yonkers as a place of contained nature that serves as a place of tranquility and inspiration.
Winter landscapes (the find.com)
To emphasize the majestic quality of nature and allow viewers to experience the act of immersing oneself in natural surroundings Hudson River Painters of the 19th Century began publishing work in series. Painters would paint the same location at different times of day, under various weather conditions, and at different seasons to provide a holistic depiction of a landscape. While the single paintings were bigger and provided an idealized representation of vast untouched environments the paintings in pairs and series created a narrative. These paintings were a prolonged portrait of a place that created the effect of experiencing the place over time rather then be impressed by one snapshot of it. Similarly to the single paintings there was an underlying motivation to create these works for sale to urban art collectors. The public demand for these pairs of paintings grew and added to the idyllic image Yonkers had established in the city through these paintings.
Man on river (hrm.org)
Although Landscape paintings were the predominant form of representing Yonkers photography also contributed to the idealized vision of Yonkers being exported to the city. The photograph below is an example of the scenes of Yonkers residents leisurely enjoying their surroundings captured by the camera. This image appeals to a city dweller who is tired of rushing through crowds, breathing in pollution, and working long hours because it is a snapshot of someone doing the exact opposite. In this photograph a silhouetted figure sits alone on a sailboat in the middle of a vast river. It is an image that suggests the people of Yonkers enjoy nature and embody its calm peaceful temperament. To the right is a photograph of a different activity and season, but similar in message. The photograph depicting people curling during the winter further emphasizes the image of Yonkers as a place where people interact with nature and have a friendly community. The fact that it is a photograph helps deliver the message of Yonkers being a place full of contained natural beauty because it is received as fact. One could question a painting and its verifiability, but a photograph is taken as truth and therefore had a huge impact on the way outsiders viewed life in Yonkers. Photographs likes these were seen in newspapers and gave readers a window into a simpler life waiting for them just minutes away on the train. The pairing of landscape painting and photography solidified the image that Yonkers was an oasis around the corner from the concrete jungle.
Print of Yonkers (hrm.org)
Photo of Yonkers (hrm.org)
These last images represent the transition from representing Yonkers as a purely ideal escape from the city to showing it off as a city not only rich in nature but also opportunity. The first is a print of Yonkers made in the late 19th century and the second a photograph of Yonkers taken at the same time. The print has an image of the city landscape bordered by trees at its center and is surrounded by other squares containing images of schools, businesses, and homes. This sends the message that Yonkers is an up and running city with all the amenities you need without the over crowding of the city. The photograph provides evidence of the development of business the print aims to illustrate. The landscape changed from vast nature to a developed city. These images show outsiders that Yonkers is a place of beauty that you can own a part of.
Yonkers: A Place to Call Home
Cover page (Yonkershistory.org)
The images representing Yonkers as a new and desirable city that began to emerge in the late nineteenth century became the predominant visual nkers exported to outsiders in the twentieth century. Yonkers had grown into a small city with an active local government seeking to develop the city and attract more residents. This became such a high priority that the Yonkers Board of Trade was established to focus on the recruiting of new residents and one of their first initiative was to publish Yonkers Illustrated in 1903. This publication used photography to highlight the development of Yonkers and prove it to be an established community with all the amenities of a big city without the high cost and overcrowding. The book is strategically divided into public buildings, street views, educational institutions, firehouses, churches, hospitals, public parks, banks, newspapers, and organizations. These categories highlight the existence of necessary elements such as firehouses and hospitals as well as community centers like organizations, churches, and parks.
Home store (soyosunset.com)
Mansion Warburton (soyosunset.com)
The cover page to the upper right encapsulates this idea that Yonkers is both a modern urban center and wholesome community by combining images of home, camaraderie, and modernity. The top left image of a grand mansion suggests Yonkers is a place of grand living where one can have an estate rather then a small house or apartment. Underneath a photograph of people ice skating and smiling together evokes a feeling of community and suggests this is a place with a hospitable social environment. The final image to the right showcases main street establishments, which is an essential inclusion in order to establish that Yonkers Illustrated means not only home and community, but also opportunity and commerce. This point is elaborated on through the images within the book like this interior of a furniture and home goods shop in downtown Yonkers and the grand two story home on Warburton Avenue. These two images together suggest Yonkers has grown into a place where one has room to build a home and maintain it conveniently with local businesses you can trust.
Yonkers home for sale ad (victoriansource.com)
The trend of using images to promote Yonkers as a city continued throughout the twentieth century. While in New York City and other major urban centers art was being used increasingly as a tool for social critique and commentary, this time in Yonkers used visual primarily to promote itself as an ideal American town and attract newcomers. Photography and printmaking were the primary mediums used because they could be mass-produced and published in newspapers and magazines. While Yonkers illustrated had a tacit goal to advertise images that began to appear in periodicals explicitly accompanied advertisements for auctions and Homes for sale. As
Yonkers evolved the images seen in publications were similar to Yonkers
illustrated in style and function yet showcased the changes of the city. By the
1950s Yonkers had become a prime example of the suburban image most conceptualized. The Yonkers exported through advertisement highlights its suburban values though showcasing families made up of housewives maintaining the home for their working husbands. At this time Yonkers appears as an oasis the way it did in the 19th century landscape paintings, however rather then promise people a retreat from industrialization and crowding these images promoted an escape from a dangerous and increasingly unstable New York City.
Yonkers photos by Mike Sirico (certainbooks.com)
Yonkers: Uncovering the Real City
For many years the only images associated with Yonkers were these depictions of people living the American dream in their suburban home, but towards the end of the 20th century the issues of race, class, and economics present in Yonkers became impossible to ignore. At this time art began to go beyond advertisement and showcase the real Yonkers and its issues.
Toward the end of the 20th Century images of Yonkers began to catch up with the more progressive and analytical nature of modern art movements that had been developing in bigger cities. Artists grew more concerned with informing the public about the real Yonkers rather then selling an ideal version. For example, Artist Chris Semergieff, who spent most of the seventies painting the landscape of Brooklyn and Manhattan, followed many artists to Yonkers and began to exchange his focus on Brooklyn for this new place that proved to be unique and equally interesting. Semergieff’s paintings are subtle and require a prolonged viewing to grasp the information being transmitted and the themes that are highlighted. Upon first glance his work consists of simple landscapes using a soft color palette of pastel blues, yellows, greens, and reds. Only after careful observation does a viewer detect the “questions of good or bad and…Nature, contained behind the fences of manufactured needs” Semergieff states he hopes to capture through his carefully crafted landscapes. In his work the natural beauty of Yonkers is contrasted by manufacturing, the modernity and industrialization Yonkers experienced is counteracted by run down buildings and closed down shops, and the vibrant community Yonkers advertized is vacant in these depictions. What at first seem like technically impressive but thematically simple paintings are invitations to carefully study the landscape of Yonkers and how it has changed since the landscapes of the Hudson River School.
Another artist that highlights change in Yonkers is Irvin Vincent T. Chandler, an artist who represents the newcomers to Yonkers both in his biography and art. Chandler is native of Trinidad & Tobago who immigrated to the Bronx and later made a home in Yonkers the way many immigrant and low-income Bronx citizens did. Chandler is part of a big group of people that changed the sociological landscape of Yonkers and experienced racism and isolation. His work highlights this through the use of abstracted forms and bright colors that emphasize the presence and vibrancy of this group. Chandler’s work exposes and celebrates the diversity within Yonkers. 
A more complete view of Yonkers has been achieved not only through modern art in its classical form, but also through film. There are three films all set in Yonkers that focus on completely different communities and issues. As a collection they represent the diversity in Yonkers and the multiple “Yonkers” that exist with the city limits. The first, Lost in Yonkers is based on a Neil Simon play about two brothers Jay and Artie who are sent to spend the summer in Yonkers with their Grandmother, a strict Eastern European immigrant, and their childish Aunt Bella and Gangster Uncle Louie. The film is set in 1940 yet was released in 1993 which provides an interesting look back at what Yonkers was like from a modern day perspective. Yonkers appears as a sleepy small town made up mainly of working class Americans and immigrants with little diversity. The nostalgic images of 1940s Yonkers are replaced with images of contemporary Yonkers in the film Yonkers Joe. This movie centers on Joe, a gambler and con man that faces personal struggle when his son with Down syndrome is released from where he was being taken care of and Joe must figure out how to help him. The images of a quaint town displayed in Lost in Yonkers are gone in this film and instead viewers see rundown neighborhoods, small time crime, and much more diversity then the 1940s Yonkers in Lost in Yonkers. Differing to both these films immensely is the short documentary featured on you tube Straight Out of Yonkers. This documentary focuses on the rap music scene of Yonkers and provides an image of suburban Yonkers that is rarely highlighted. The inner city of Yonkers is highlighted through interviews with rappers and clips from performances, and viewers are exposed to the social and economic problems present in the Yonkers community. It is not that one film is more representative of Yonkers then the other rather together they prove how much change has occurred in Yonkers' identity since its founding and the struggles that change presents.
Lost In Yonkers Movie Cover (imdb.com)
Yonkers Joe Cover (imdb.com)
group featured in documentary (hiphop-musik.com)
Contemporary Art about Yonkers has been polarized into nostalgic or critical until the recent publication of Yonkers Then and Now. This work published by the Yonkers Historical Society and the Blue Door Artists association pairs photographs of historic Yonkers next to present day images. The book showcases how Yonkers has changed and creates a holistic view of the city starting from its roots until present day. This work is an important step for the representation of Yonkers through art because it provides historical context and allows viewers to see how Yonkers has grown and speculate on how it might continue to change.
Yonkers: Then & Now Cover (yonkershistory.org)
 The Hudson River School John K. Howat The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin , New Series, Vol. 30, No. 6 (Jun. - Jul., 1972), pp. 272-283
 Judith, O'Toole. Westmoreland Museum of Art, "Different Views in Hudson River School Painting." Last modified 04/14/2008. Accessed April 19, 2012. http://tfaoi.org/aa/8aa/8aa32.htm  Hudson River Museum, "Exhibitions." Last modified 2012. Accessed April 10, 2012. http://www.hrm.org/exhibits.html  "Victorian Source." Last modified 2012. Accessed April 06, 2012. www.victoriansource.com.  Hudson River Museum, "Collections." Last modified 2012. Accessed April 10, 2012. http://www.hrm.org/collections.html  Board of Trade Yonkers, Yonkers Illustrated, (Yonker: Yonkers Board of Trade, 1903)http://archive.org/stream/yonkersillustrat00yonk  "Victorian Source." Last modified 2012. Accessed April 06, 2012. www.victoriansource.com.  Hudson Valley Ruins, "Yonkers ." Last modified 2012. Accessed April 22, 2012. http://www.hudsonvalleyruins.org/yasinsac/yonkers.html.  Chris, Semergieff. "Chris Semergieff." Last modified 2012. Accessed April 23, 2012. http://www.semergieff.com/sitemap.asp.  Denny, Joe. "Irving Vincent T. Chandler Art." Last modified 2012. Accessed April 23, 2012. http://dennyjoeart.com/index.html  Maslin, Janet. "Lost in Yonkers." The New York Times, 05 14, 1993. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F0CE4DF1530F937A25756C0A965958260 (accessed April 20, 2012).  Holden, Stephen. "http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/01/09/movies/09yonk.html." The New York Times, January 8, 2009. http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/01/09/movies/09yonk.html (accessed April 20, 2012).  "Straight out of Yonkers," documentary, Web, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgVUHs4B-Ls.  First Yonkers Historical Society and Blue Door Artists Association, Yonkers Then and Now, (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2008), 1-91.