Margaret Bourke-White - The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation New York Tuesday, October 3, 2017 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Collection of sculptor Ruth N. Greacen, wife of painter Edmund Greacen, New York
    William Doyle Galleries, New York, 5 December 1997, lot 294

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Industry is the true place for art today. Art should express the spirit of the people, and the heart of life today is in the great industrial activities of the country.” Margaret Bourke-White

    The image offered here, with its bold diagonals and abstracted patterns of sunlight and shadow, demonstrates Margaret Bourke-White’s ability to incorporate avant-garde compositional ideas into her commercial and editorial work of the 1930s. It was a strategy that distinguished her from her contemporaries and was perfectly suited to the industrial subject matter that was the major focus of her work for Fortune magazine. The present image, likely made at the Rosenbaum Grain Corporation in Chicago, is an exemplary image from this period in Bourke-White’s career.

    This impressive exhibition-sized print came originally from the collection of American sculptor Ruth Nickerson Greacen, as did the Bourke-White photograph Cable Spools, offered as lot 46. Both large prints are similarly presented on mounts with calligraphic lettering. Another similarly-presented Bourke-White photograph in the Joy of Giving Something Foundation collection, also with the Greacen provenance and sold at Sotheby’s in 2014, was exhibited by the American Federation of the Arts in the 1930s; it is possible that the two prints offered here were part of that exhibition, as well.


Concrete Trestle

circa 1930
Gelatin silver print.
17 3/4 x 12 1/4 in. (45.1 x 31.1 cm)
Calligraphically credited in an unidentified hand in pencil on the mount.

$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for $60,000

Contact Specialist
Rachel Peart
+1 212 940 1246

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245

The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation

New York 3 October 2017