11 Pioneering Women Photographers, from Julia Margaret Cameron to Helen Levitt
From the Catalogue:
This impressive exhibition-sized print came originally from the collection of American sculptor Ruth Nickerson Greacen, as did the Bourke-White photograph Concrete Trestle, offered as lot 43. Both large prints are similarly presented on mounts with calligraphic lettering. Another similarly-presented Bourke-White photograph in the Joy of Giving Something Foundation collection, also with the Greacen provenance and sold at Sotheby’s in 2014, was exhibited by the American Federation of the Arts in the 1930s; it is possible that the two prints offered here were part of that exhibition, as well.
—Courtesy of Phillips
Signature: Calligraphically credited in an unidentified hand in pencil on the mount.
Estate of sculptor Ruth N. Greacen, wife of painter Edmund Greacen, New York
William Doyle Galleries, New York, 5 December 1997, lot 293
Margaret Bourke-White is among the foremost photographers of the 20th century, who captured modern industry, the Great Depression, World War II and the concentration camps, and political and social movements from the 1920s to the 1950s in images both elegant and unflinching. “The camera is a remarkable instrument,” she claimed. “Saturate yourself with your subject and the camera will all but take you by the hand.” Bourke-White traveled the world immersing herself with her subjects, beginning in Ohio, in 1927, photographing the Otis Steel Company. Soon after, she was hired as the first staff photographer for Fortune, then the first female photojournalist for LIFE Magazine. In 1930, she was the first Western photographer allowed into the Soviet Union, where she documented industrialization under Communism. Bourke-White left behind a body of images as iconic as the history it conveys.