Berenice Abbott, ‘Department of Docks Building, Pier A, Manhattan, May 5’, 1936, Heritage Auctions
Berenice Abbott, ‘Department of Docks Building, Pier A, Manhattan, May 5’, 1936, Heritage Auctions
Berenice Abbott, ‘Department of Docks Building, Pier A, Manhattan, May 5’, 1936, Heritage Auctions

Condition Report: Dry mounted to board measuring 30-3/4 x 36-1/2 inches; a few scattered pinhead sized marks of surface imperfection.

Signature: Signed and editioned '20/40' in pencil on mount recto; the photographer's 'Retrospective' stamp on mount verso.

Image rights: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Publisher: Parasol Press, Ltd., Scarsdale, New York. HID09201242017

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