Margaret Bourke-White - Photographs New York Thursday, April 4, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Throckmorton Fine Art, New York

  • Literature

    Bourke-White, Eyes on Russia, frontispiece
    Brown, Margaret Bourke-White: Photojournalist, p. 39

  • Catalogue Essay

    Taken in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, The World's Largest Dam - Dnieperstroi, is a classic example of Margaret Bourke-White’s unparalleled ability to communicate the vitality of industrialization amidst the economic and political changes of the 1930s and 1940s. In this important early industrial image, Bourke-White played with perspective to communicate the immense scope of new construction. Bourke-White presents her subject as a modern Parthenon, with its half-built pillars, soon to become the main arteries of the dam, steadfastly towering side-by-side before the forces of nature. In her book Eyes on Russia, 1931, where this image appears as the frontispiece, Bourke-White wrote: “I saw the five-year plan as a great scenic drama being unrolled before the eyes of the world,” referring to Russia’s program for economic and industrial modernization.

    Bourke-White is one of the photographers directly responsible for creating the modern vocabulary of photojournalism. She lived a life as bold as her pictures, breaking through political, professional, and gender boundaries. She was Fortune magazine’s first staff photographer, and the first Western professional photographer permitted into the Soviet Union. She was also LIFE magazine's first female photographer, and it was a photograph by her that famously appeared on its first cover in 1936. She was the first female war correspondent credentialed to work in combat zones during World War II. In 1930, Bourke-White participated in the Men and Machines exhibition in New York City. It was in reference to that exhibition that Bourke-White predicted that “Any important art coming out of the industrial age will draw inspiration from industry, because industry is alive and vital.”

Property from a Private West Coast Collection


The World's Largest Dam – Dnieperstroi

Gelatin silver print.
13 1/8 x 9 1/4 in. (33.3 x 23.5 cm)
Signed in pencil on the mount; titled in pencil and credit stamp on the reverse of the mount.

$20,000 - 30,000 

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New York Auction 4 April 2019