William P. Chappel (1801–1878), a tinsmith and amateur painter, depicted scenes of early 19th-century New York City. This exhibition features 27 small oil paintings from The Met collection that were probably executed late in the artist's life. Chappel's meticulously detailed images of street peddlers, artisan workshops, and swimmers cooling off in the East River—the kinds of commonplace scenes that were seldom documented—provide a rare glimpse of urban life 200 years ago.
View a map of lower Manhattan (PDF) that marks the precise locations Chappel depicted in 24 of the paintings on view in this exhibition.
William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878). Buttermilk Pedlar (detail), 1870s. Oil on slate paper, 6 3/16 x 9 5/16 in. (15.7 x 23.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Edward W. C. Arnold Collection of New York Prints, Maps, and Pictures, Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold, 1954 (54.90.498)