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Berenice Abbott Photography

American, 1898-1991

While photographer Berenice Abbott has wrongly never been heralded as one of the defining giants of 20th-century photography, she is widely known, indeed celebrated, for her iconic portraits of some of the most glamorous denizens of 1920s bohemian Paris.

And although less familiar, Abbott’s photos of the deserted streets, aging tenements and rising office towers of Depression-era New York have been critically recognized as nothing short of groundbreaking. Additionally, her relatively obscure work as a science photographer has received an admiring reappraisal in recent years. Recognized for having dramatically advanced the medium’s aesthetics and techniques (earning four patents along the way), not to mention the ambition of her subject matter — the principle laws of physics — she has been favorably compared to two early masters of modernist experimentation: her mentor Man Ray and László Moholy Nagy.

In 1918, at just 19, freckled, androgynous and with cropped hair, Abbott fell in with a crowd that included the lesbian writer and illustrator Djuna Barnes and the Dadaists Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. They encouraged her to follow them to Paris and study with the renowned sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. Unable to pay for her training, and barely surviving, Abbott took a job as Man Ray’s assistant. The miracles of the darkroom quickly converted her to photography, as did her paycheck, and Man Ray tutored her in its fundamentals.

By 1926, Abbott had set up her own studio with backing from Peggy Guggenheim, the American heiress and art patron. André Gide, Jean Cocteau, Janet Flanner and James Joyce were among the luminaries and socialites who came for sittings. Her subversive lens made for riveting portraits.

A number of Abbott’s images of New York appear to have been shot by drone or, in the technological equivalent for the day, a dirigible. They actually entailed her stationing herself precariously on the rooftops and ledges of the skyscrapers along Wall Street and Midtown.

That feat recalls the famous photograph of Abbott’s contemporary and fellow Ohioan Margaret Bourke-White taking a shot of the New York skyline astride one of the metallic eagle heads atop the Chrysler building. One can only wonder if a photograph of Abbott in a similarly heroic pose would have helped her recognition as the trailblazing documentarian she was.

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Artist: Berenice Abbott
Night View, New York (aka New York at Night)
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Berenice Abbott learned photography from the artist Man Ray when she was his studio assistant in Paris in 1923-1925. It was in Paris where Man Ray introduced her to the work of Eugèn...
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

WASHINGTON SQUARE LOOKING NORTH
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in Portland, ME
Abbott, Berenice. WASHINGTON SQUARE LOOKING NORTH. Vintage Gelatin Silver print, 1936. Stamped verso "Federal Art Project/"Changing New York"/Photograp...
Category

1930s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Hoboken Ferry Terminal, Lackawanna Railroad, Barclay Street, New York
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
This work is offered by CLAMP in New York City.
Category

20th Century Contemporary Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

El Station Interior, Sixth and Ninth Avenue Lines, 72nd Street
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in San Francisco, CA
Artist: Abbott, Berenice (1898-1991) Title: El Station Interior, Sixth and Ninth Avenue Lines, Downtown Side, Columbus Avenue and 72nd Street, Manhattan, February 6, 1936 Collection:...
Category

1930s Realist Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Fulton Street Fish Market, New York City, circa 1930
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
Ca. 1930 Gravure print from The Limited Editions Club edition of The Bottom of the Harbor, Joe Mitchell Image: 5 x 6 inches Unsigned
Category

1930s Other Art Style Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Photogravure, Silver Gelatin

Edward Hopper, New York, 1948
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
1948 Silver print; Photograph of Edward Hopper in New York, 1948 by legendary Berenice Abbot 14 x 11 inches The image is stamped "Photograph Berenice Abbott, Abbott, Maine 04406"
Category

1940s Other Art Style Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Flatiron Building, New York City, 1938
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
1938 Silver print on 16 x 20-inch mount 11 x 14 in. Signed and stamped Berenice Abbott
Category

1930s Other Art Style Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Designer's Window, Bleecker Street
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Signed on back of print with artist's stamp. Printed in the 1950's.
Category

1940s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Edward Hopper, 1947
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Signed and numbered in pencil on recto Gelatin Silver Print Image - 18"x23", Matted - 27"x33"
Category

1940s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Fulton Street Fish Market, New York City
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
Ca. 1930 Photogravure 5 x 6 1/4 in. The Limited Editions Club edition of The Bottom of the Harbor, Joe Mitchell Unsigned
Category

1930s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Photogravure

Penn Station Interior, New York City, July 1936
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
1936 Silver print mounted on 20x24-inch ragboard 16 x 20 in. Stamped "Berenice Abbott, Abbott Village, Maine 04406"
Category

1930s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Penn Station Interior, New York City, July, 1936
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
1936 Silver print on 20 x 24-inch ragboard 16 x 20 in. Stamped Berenice Abbott, Abbott Village, Maine 04406
Category

1930s Other Art Style Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

New York Stock Exchange [Wall Street]
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
Gelatin silver print mounted to museum board Signed in pencil on overmat, l.r. Photographer's 'Abbott, Maine' stamp in black ink, verso of mount 9.5 x 7.5 inches, sheet 14 x 11 inches, mount 16.625 x 13.375 inches, overmat This artwork is offered by ClampArt, located in New York...
Category

1930s Other Art Style Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Theoline, Pier 11, East River, NY
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
Signed by the photographer.
Category

1930s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

New York at Night
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
13.5 x 10.5 inch gelatin silver print, printed circa 1980 Framed to 26.5 x 22.5 inches Signed on verso Berenice Abbott's "New York at Night" is one ...
Category

1930s American Modern Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

W.P.O, Illinoise & Wharf
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Unsigned, titled (W.P.O. Illinois and Wharf: Armory for Naval Reserves, West 135th Street Pier Manhattan) and dated with Federal Art Project stamp “changing New York" on back of print.
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Tugboats, Pier #11, East River
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Signed, titled and dated with Federal Art Project stamp “Changing New York” on back of print.
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

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Berenice Abbott photography for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a wide variety of authentic Berenice Abbott photography available for sale on 1stDibs. You can also browse by medium to find art by Berenice Abbott in silver gelatin print, intaglio, photogravure and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 20th century and is mostly associated with the modern style. Not every interior allows for large Berenice Abbott photography, so small editions measuring 6 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of Nickolas Muray, Jeffrey Silverthorne, and Edward Steichen. Berenice Abbott photography prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $900 and tops out at $18,000, while the average work can sell for $3,500.
Questions About Berenice Abbott Photography
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Noted photographer Berenice Abbott had no official retirement, but her work tapered off after she moved to Maine in the late 1960s. She was able to live off the rise in popularity of her prior works in the 1970s and basically lived a small-town existence until her death in 1991. Shop a selection of Berenice Abbott pieces from some of the world’s top art dealers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Berenice Abbott was an American photographer known for her portrait and documentary photographs. Her style of photography can be described as realist or straight, capturing an accurate and honest observation of her subjects as they existed in a specific time or place. Abbott’s photographs displayed precise detail and definition of materials, surfaces and textures. Find a selection of Berenice Abbott photographs on 1stDibs.

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