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May Day, New York

Jerome Liebling (American, 1924-2011)

May Day, New York, 1948

  • Gelatin silver print
  • 7 5/8 x 7 15/16 in. (19.4 x 20.2 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Esther Leah Ritz Bequest, 2008-91
  • Digital image © 2010 The Jewish Museum, New York Photo by Ardon Bar Hama

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May Day, New York

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May Day, New York

Liebling zooms in on his subjects, cropping out everything from the scene except the head and shoulders of several men and a pavilion at the upper left that identifies the setting as the north side of New York City’s Union Square. The head peeking out over the main figure’s shoulder—near the center, in the middle distance—is that of a police officer; one can see his hat but nearly nothing else of him. By focusing on the police officer and the workers as they come face to face, Liebling suggests the potential for dramatic confrontation.