Lewis Wickes Hine - Photographs Evening Sale New York Wednesday, April 1, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Private Collection, New York

  • Literature

    Aperture, America & Lewis Hine, p. 112
    Langer, Lewis W. Hine, p. 36

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the 1920s Lewis Hine transitioned from his early photographs documenting child labor conditions into “work portraits,” which depicted the human element of industrialization. In 1931, the builders behind the Empire State building commissioned Hine to document the construction of the skyscraper that would redefine the New York City skyline and stand as the tallest building in the world for nearly 40 years.

    In order to capture the monumentality and dangers of the project, Hine photographed from the perspective of the workers stories above ground level. Placing himself in precarious situations that mimicked workers’ actual risks, Hine captured the men as they hoisted steel beams and cables thousands of feet up in the air, carefully maneuvering the individual pieces that would fit together to form the building’s structure. Constantly engaging in a delicate dance between progress and peril, with little regard for their own safety, these workers defied the odds and constructed a building that remains an incredible feat of human ingenuity and determination. Today, Hine’s breathtaking photographs of the Empire State Building remain some of his most iconic work and stand as a photographic tribute to the fearless men at the center of 20th century modernization.


Team Work, Empire State Building, New York City

Gelatin silver print.
7 1/2 x 7 1/8 in. (19.1 x 18.1 cm)
Titled, dated in pencil and 'Hastings-on-Hudson, New York' credit stamp on the verso; collection label on the reverse of the backing board.

$15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for $16,250

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs

Shlomi Rabi
Head of Sale, New York

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245

Photographs Evening Sale

New York 1 April 2015 6pm