Margaret Bourke-White - Photographs New York Friday, April 5, 2024 | Phillips
  • Taken on assignment for Fortune magazine, Margaret Bourke-White’s study of the George Washington Bridge displays her unique ability to bring avant-garde compositional ideas into the service of photojournalism. By eliminating the horizon and using the deep perspective of the bridge’s cables to emphasize its vast expanse, she created an image that vibrates with the vitality of the new urban environment. In Bourke-White’s handling, the bridge is raised to the level of Modernist icon.

    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.’

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, Chicago, acquired circa 1960s
      By descent to the present owner

    • Literature

      Callahan, The Photographs of Margaret Bourke-White, p. 43
      Phillips, Margaret Bourke-White: The Photography of Design 1927-1936, p. 125
      Bulfinch Press, Decade by Decade: Twentieth-Century American Photography From the Collection of the Center for Creative Photography, pl. 59


The George Washington Bridge

Gelatin silver print with black inked borders, mounted.
13 3/8 x 8 7/8 in. (34 x 22.5 cm)
Signed in pencil on the mount; credit stamp and titled in an unidentified hand in pencil on the reverse of the mount.

Full Cataloguing

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $44,450

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 5 April 2024