Berenice Abbott, ‘Court of the First Model Tenement, New York’, 1936, Phillips

Signature: Signed in pencil on the mount.

McCausland, New York In The Thirties: As Photographed by Berenice Abbott, pl. 75
O'Neal, Berenice Abbott: American Photographer, pl. 44
Yochelson, Berenice Abbott: Changing New York, p. 270

Lee Gallery, Winchester, Massachusetts, 1995

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