"An overblown backstage floozy."
Painted in 1919, The City was exhibited in Philadelphia, Chicago, and finally New York in 1927, exciting virulent critical responses wherever it went. Kuhn’s choice to symbolize the city with a show girl was certain to cause controversy.
The first time I saw Walt Kuhn’s painting, The City, I hated it; the second time I was curious; the third I tolerated; on the fourth it was an interesting acquaintance, and finally I came to regard it as one of the most important works of art made in America in our time.
– critic Frederick James Gregg
Walt Kuhn, The City, 1919, Oil on canvas. Smart Museum of Art. The University of Chicago. Purchase, Paul and Miriam Kirkley Fund for Acquisitions, 2001.125.