Berenice Abbott, ‘Brooklyn Bridge, Water and Dock Streets, Brooklyn’, 1936, Phillips

Photographs from the Collection of Jeffrey M. Kaplan, Washington, D.C.

From the Catalogue:
About the Collector:
With a life-long passion for collecting, spurred by an intense, intellectual curiosity for art, Jeffrey M. Kaplan’s collection transcends classification and speaks to his devotion to all things cultural. Driven by an innate interest in learning about different cultures and ways of life, the photographs in his collection illustrate key moments and movements throughout the history of the medium, unified by the overarching theme of one man’s collecting journey.

The photographs on offer, lots 271-286, include works by leaders in the field, thus demonstrating Kaplan’s deep knowledge and keen awareness of the medium. From Alfred Stieglitz, and his selections for Camera Work, to Ansel Adams and Berenice Abbott, the classic is balanced by the contemporary with an equally impressive selection of works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Alec Soth and Robert Polidori. Kaplan’s particular affinity for Mapplethorpe is evident in the six lots on offer which show the photographer’s incredible depth and include the stunning dye transfer print, Flowers in Vase; the iconic photograph of Thomas that was selected by Patti Smith to grace the cover of Robert Mapplethorpe, her 1987 book on the photographer; and Wheat, a still-life that shows a masterful range of tonality.

This diverse selection reflects Kaplan’s constant interest in acquiring works that peaked his intellect, while offering the thrill that drives the most devoted of collectors.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: Titled, dated, annotated in pencil and Federal Art Project 'Changing New York' credit stamp on the verso.

McCausland, New York in the Thirties: As Photographed by Berenice Abbott, pl. 87
O'Neal, Berenice Abbott: American Photographer, p. 99
Yochelson, Berenice Abbott: Changing New York, pl. 33

Jean Efron Art Consultants, Washington, D.C.

About Berenice Abbott

Berenice Abbott is best known for her striking, black-and-white photographs of New York City buildings, which she photographed as though taking portraits. In the 1920s she served as a darkroom assistant to Man Ray in Paris (she had modeled for him earlier in New York), where she encountered such leading cultural voices of the day as James Joyce, Max Ernst, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. She found inspiration in the Parisian streetscapes of Eugène Atget, an influence that would carry into “Changing New York” (1935-38), her major body of work for the Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project. She strove to create objective photographs that stood on their own merit, rather than referencing other art forms. “Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium,” she said. “It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.”

American, 1898-1991, Springfield, Ohio