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New York City Subway Mosaics - Big & Beautiful

The New York City subway system has a great public art collection that includes photography, stained glass, and of course mosaic art. On the last page of this article there is a link to a directory of the art in the subway, but for now we will focus on a small sample of the mosaics.

One of the large mosaics at the Times Square and 42nd Street station is 7' x 20'. The tesserae are smalti. A close up of a portion of the mosaic is on the next page.

Jack Beal enrolled in Chicago Art Institute in 1953 and in 1956 moved with his wife to New York City. He painted murals for much of his career, but two mosaics are clearly his most recognized work and are seen by thousands of people every single day. This is one of them and the other is shown below.

Like the companion piece it is constructed of smalti and has dimensions of 7' x 20'. There is a close-up of a portion of it below.

The way that Mr. Beal depicted the light rising from the manhole is interesting.

Next we will see the 77th street station.

 "4 Seasons Seasoned" by Robert Kushmer is in a station on the East Side Line. Its three panels are connected by the branches with blossoms. The tesserae for the side panels are ceramic while the center panel's background is largely gold smalti and the flowers are ceramic. Below is a close-up.

Robert Kushner is a Pasadena, California artist. Primarily a painter, but his work includes a number of mosaic murals.

To see these and other subway mosaics during your next trip to New York, check out this directory of art in the subways at

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