Eugene de Salignac
American, 1861-1943

Despite his vastly reproduced images of Manhattan's 20th-century urban transformation, Eugene de Salignac remained largely anonymous prior to the recent Aperture monograph that heralded his work. A descendent of French nobility, de Salignac was born in Boston and became employed as a municipal worker by the New York Department of Bridges at age 42, where he documented the construction of such landmarks as the Manhattan Municipal Building and the Manhattan, Queensboro, and Brooklyn Bridges (the latter spawning his best-known image, of painters posing nonchalantly upon the bridge's suspenders.) Though little was known of de Salignac during his lifetime, the artist kept handwritten logs identifying the location and date of each large-format, glass plate negative—a finishing touch on his account of the emergent structure and infrastructure of the now modern New York City.

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