Exhibitions

Dorothy Whitney, Paris, 1926

next

BERENICE ABBOTT
Photographs

Berenice Abbott can be considered the photographer of New York City. A revolutionary documentary photographer, Abbott was born in Springfield, Ohio, in 1898, and studied for one year at Ohio State University, Columbus, before moving to New York in 1918 to study sculpture. While in New York, Abbott met Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, two of the founders of the Dada movement, an artistic intellectual movement that emerged as a protest to the senseless suffering of World War I. Dada artists sought to question convention and tradition through seemingly nonsensical works presented in performances, literature, and the visual arts.

Moving on to Europe in the 1920s, Abbott worked from 1925 to 1929 as a photographic assistant to May Ray in Paris. Through her work printing Man Ray’s photographs, Abbott herself discovered her talent as a photographer. In 1926 Abbott had her first solo exhibition in the Parisian gallery, Le Sacre du Printemps. This exhibition featured Abbott’s portrait photography in which she captured personalities associated with avant-garde art movements. Portraits of film director Jean Cocteau, author James Joyce, artist Max Ernst, and poet Edna St. Vincent Millay were featured. During this time, Abbott also became interested in the work of Eugène Atget, a leading French photographer who was celebrated for his photographs of the streets of Paris.

Upon Abbott’s return to New York in 1929, she moved away from portrait photography to documentary photography akin to Atget’s images, using the city as her subject. During the 1930s she embarked on a project to capture the transformation of New York into a modern urban center. Abbott was particularly interested in the physical changes that the city had undergone, its changing neighborhoods with huge skyscrapers replacing older low-rise buildings. She began a series of documentary photographs of the city as part of a Federal Works Project Administration initiative carried out from 1935 to 1939. At the end of the project, she published her photographs as a book entitled Changing New York. Abbott favored a straightforward, yet dynamic, style that featured strong contrasts and dramatic angles. “Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium,” Abbott said, “it has to walk alone; it has to be itself.”

Abbott became picture editor for Science Illustrated in the 1940s and continued in that role through the 1960s, expanding her subject matter to include scientific images. She moved to Maine in 1966 and continued as a science photographer, approaching the world around her methodically, as she had done with her portraits and images of New York. Abbott continued her photography until her death in 1991.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

> Contents82 vintage B&W photographs divided in three parts: Portraits, New York and Science.
1 documentary film and other documents.
> Size of works4 of 44x33x3cm
2 of 46x38x3cm
1 of 46x43x3cm
1 of 46x35x3cm
3 of 47x40x2cm
1 of 50x47x3cm
12 of 53x43x3cm
10 of 55x45x2cm
6 of 55x46x3cm
2 of 55x49x3cm
5 of 55x45x3cm
1 of 65x54x3cm
1 of 75x68x3cm
2 of 81x68x3cm
1 of 81x55x3cm
1 of 81x40x3cm
2 of 81x67x3cm
9 of 81x65x3cm
1 of 96x58x3cm
1 of 96x46x3cm
4 of 96x81x3cm
1 of 97x81x3 cm
1 of 130x107x3 cm
10 of 129x107x3 cm
 









> ConditionMatted and framed. The exhibition travels in 6 wooden crates. Total weight 748kg.

1 crate of  90x78x65cm
1 crate of 90x85x60cm
1 crate of 100x90x115cm
1 crate of 130x100x70cm
1 crate of 160x140x96cm 
1 crate of 151x128x56cm
> TransportFrom Madrid 
> Rental ConditionsThe borrower will be in charge of:
-The transport from and to Madrid
-The insurance nail to nail
-Flight and journey of the curator of the exhibition from Madrid
> AvailabilityFrom March 2018
> CuratorAnne Morin

 

Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin © Jirka Jansch Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin © Jirka Jansch
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin © Jirka Jansch Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin © Jirka Jansch
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin © Jirka Jansch Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin © Jirka Jansch

CATALOGUE

  • Title: Berenice Abbott. Topographien
  • Size: 23 x 30 cm
  • Language: German
  • Number of pages: 103
  • Number of ilustrations: 70
  • Publisher: STEIDL
  • ISBN: 978-3-95829-245-1

VENUES

  • Sala San Benito - Valladolid, Spain
    October 22 - January 10 2016

  • Martin Gropius Bau - Berlin, Germany
    July 1 - October 3 2016

  • Kuk e. V. Monschau - StädteRegion Aachen, Germany
    October 10 - December 20 2016

  • MAN Nuoro - Sardinia, Italy
    February 17 - May 21 2017

  • Kutxa Kultur Artegunea - Tabakalera - San Sebastián, Spain
    November 23 2017 - March 25 2018

< back to exhibitions