March 24 2020

Pictures by Bill William Sharpe

One of the many projects interrupted by the virus was something that began accidentally: I had done a watercolor of the view from my office window, and James came in with a book I'd ordered and saw the picture. He said I should do more. So I went upstairs to the lounge to photograph the view out the window. Mark was there and we decided jokingly that we should have Institute notecards with 'pictures by Bill.' So this is the beginning.

For homesick New Yorkers, here are also two pictures of Columbia just for the fun of it: one is the domes of Earl Hall and Low Library seen from my office at Barnard, and the other is the water towers on top of Butler Hall, also seen from my office.

Image details (top to bottom, left to right):

Afternoon Light, Reid Hall Courtyard, 4 x 6", watercolor on Sennelier paper, 2019

Sky and Chimneys Above Rue de la Grande Chaumière, seen from Institute dining room window, 10 x 14", watercolor on Sennelier paper, 2019

Eiffel Tower seen from Pont Alexandre III, Sunset, 8 x 10", watercolor on Sennelier paper, 2020

Water Towers, Butler Hall on 119th St, Seen from Barnard College, 8 x 10", watercolor on Arches paper, 2019

Earl Hall and Low Library, Columbia University, Seen from Barnard College, 8 x 10", watercolor on Arches paper, 2017

The Sennelier paper used for the first three watercolors was purchased at the world-famous boutique across the street from the Institute, on rue de la Grande Chaumière.

United States

William Sharpe


William Chapman Sharpe is professor of English at Barnard College, Columbia University, where he specializes in the literature, art, and culture of the modern city, particularly New York. His work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the...