Eugène Atget - Photographs New York Wednesday, April 6, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of Berenice Abbott, New York
    Private Collection
    Edwynn Houk Gallery, Chicago, 1981
    Collection of John Glasse, Poughkeepsie, New York
    By descent to the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    As evidenced by the stamp on the verso, this print comes originally from the collection of photographer Berenice Abbott. Abbott, who lived and worked in Paris in the 1920s before beginning her signature series of photographs of New York City, befriended Eugène Atget in his final years, occasionally acquiring prints from him. After Atget’s death, Abbott saved Atget’s work from almost certain destruction by purchasing his archive of prints and negatives. It was through Abbott’s insistence that Atget’s work was shown in the Premiere Salon Indépendent de la Photographie in 1928, placing his photographs in the context of such contemporary photographers as Man Ray, Paul Outerbridge, André Kertész, and Abbott herself. Abbott believed deeply in the value of Atget’s oeuvre and it is largely through her efforts that his work was preserved and that he has entered the canon of great photographers.

    This photograph was subsequently in the collection of John Glasse (1922-2014), a pioneering collector from the early days of the photography market. John Glasse was Professor of Religion at Vassar College from 1956 to 1990; philosophy of religion was his academic focus. Glasse maintained a lifelong interest in photography. As a teenager in Alaska in the 1930s, he photographed candid scenes of Juneau’s residents and the Alaskan wilderness and worked as a freelance photographer. During his adult years, he continued photographing and experimenting with different formats and techniques. Glasse began collecting as a young adult and continued to build and rotate his collection through the 1980s, focusing on major Twentieth Century photographers. The work of Paul Strand was a particular interest and Glasse curated an exhibition of Strand’s photographs at the Vassar College Art Gallery in 1977. He enjoyed corresponding with the artists in his collection to learn the background story of specific images and to share his appreciation of their work. In several instances he purchased directly from the photographers, in addition to patronizing the first generation of photography galleries in New York City, including Witkin Gallery and LIGHT.

    While Vassar College offered no formal training in photography during Glasse’s tenure, he served as an advisor to students pursuing independent study projects in the medium. In 1977 he said, "Photography is one of the ways I find myself exploring the world. And by making my own photographs and seeing the work of others, I am exploring the medium itself. In terms of photography qua academic, as a philosopher of religion, I am engaged by the relation between aesthetics and religion. The theology of culture and the philosophy of religion have not been applied to photography. I would like to make a contribution to filling that gap."


Châtaigniers (Chestnut Trees)

circa 1910
Printing-out-paper print.
8 1/4 x 6 5/8 in. (21 x 16.8 cm)
'Photo E. Atget, Collection Berenice Abbott, 1 W. 67th St.’ stamp, titled and annotated '919' in unidentified hands in pencil on the reverse of the mount.

$7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for $10,080

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 6 April 2022