Berenice Abbott - Photographs New York Tuesday, October 1, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Abbott, New York in the Thirties, pl. 10
    Yochelson, Berenice Abbott: Changing New York, Lower East Side, pl. 21

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the 1930s, New York City was changing rapidly, with older vestiges of the city quickly disappearing behind newer and ever-taller structures. Berenice Abbott’s genius was that she saw it all: from the quaint rope shop’s interior which likely hadn’t changed since the previous century, to the powerful modern structure of the Manhattan Bridge, to the stately sun-bathed homes on lower Fifth Avenue, and more. In Abbott’s photographs, old and new are treated with equal weight and an intelligent and inclusive objectivity.

    Abbott took her New York City images with an 8-by-10-inch camera, allowing her to make contact prints such as those offered in this catalogue as lots 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, and 104. These early photographs deliver a level of detail and tonal nuance not present in prints made in subsequent decades. This selection of Abbott’s photographs gives us the opportunity to see her work in its original form and to appreciate the vision and craft that went into its making.


Manhattan Bridge: Looking up from Bowery and Canal Street

Gelatin silver print.
9 1/2 x 7 5/8 in. (24.1 x 19.4 cm)
'50 Commerce Street' and Federal Art Project 'Changing New York' credit stamps, and titled, dated in an unidentified hand in pencil on the verso.

$7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for $8,750

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas

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New York Auction 1 October 2019