Berenice Abbott, ‘West Street, New York’, 1938, Heritage Auctions
Berenice Abbott, ‘West Street, New York’, 1938, Heritage Auctions
Berenice Abbott, ‘West Street, New York’, 1938, Heritage Auctions

Condition Report: Hinged along upper corners verso in to a windowed mat measuring 14 x 17 inches; a few light surface scuffs, most noticeable in raking light; upper right corner is very lightly bumped; minor folding creases to the lower corners.

Signature: Signed in pencil on mat recto; signed and titled in pencil on verso

Image rights: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

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