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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
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, 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

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 of her most famous images, and is...
Category

1930s American Modern 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

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

LYRIC THEATRE
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in Aventura, FL
Lyric Theatre, 1936 Gelatin silver, printed circa 1979. Image size 14.5 x 19.25 inches. Hand signed. Numbered (Of 60) in pencil on mount recto. Frame size approx 24 x 28 inches. ...
Category

Late 20th Century Contemporary Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin, Paper

The Pendulum
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
"The Pendulum" by Berenice Abbott is a vintage silver gelatin photograph, pencil numbered (25/40) and hand signed by by Abbott. It was published by Parasol Press (1982) and printed u...
Category

1980s Contemporary Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Photographic Paper

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"/Photographs by Berenice Abbott" and al...
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 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

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

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 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 inc...
Category

1930s Other Art Style 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

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

Related Items
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

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

Piano, Meraux, 1941
By Edward Weston
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Studio stamp “Negative by Edward Weston printed under his supervision in 1955 by Brett Weston (original signature) Project print #4”.
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Toadstool, 1931, 4FU
By Edward Weston
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Unsigned - fine print used for reproduction. From the Estate of Cole Weston.
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

B-PC-9G Palm Canyon, Borrego Desert
By Edward Weston
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Initialed and dated front of mount. Negative number annotated on back of mount. Printed in 1938.
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Kelp, 1930
By Edward Weston
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Titled with artist's reference number on mount verso. Stamped, 'Edward Weston printed by' and signed by Cole Weston on mount verso. Printed later by Cole Weston. Artist Reference Num...
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Wing of Pelican, 1931
By Edward Weston
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Signed, titled, dated with the negative number and artist's copyright stamp on back of mount. Printed later. Artist Reference Number 2BI.
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Leaf, Hawaii
By Brett Weston
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Signed and dated on mount recto.
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Sycamore Trees
By Imogen Cunningham
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Original, vintage silver gelatin print by Imogen Cunningham. Printed by the artist circa 1949 with Certificate of Authenticity from the trust on the back of the mount. Artist Biograp...
Category

1940s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Wilde Klematis
By W. Jentzsch
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Artist stamp, monogrammed 'W.J.', titled in pencil and numbered in red crayon on mount verso.
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Storks Bill, Storchschnabel
By W. Jentzsch
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Artist stamp, monogrammed 'W.J.', titled in pencil and numbered in red crayon on back of mount.
Category

20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Silverton, Colorado
By Ansel Adams
Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Signed and numbered on the front of the mount by Ansel Adams. Stamped and titled on the back of the mount. From Portolio VI-4; 55/110. Printed in 1974.
Category

1970s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Previously Available Items
Theoline, Pier 11, East River, NY
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in Santa Fe, NM
Berenice Abbott, Theoline, Pier 11, East River, NY, 1936, 19 x 15", silver gelatin print, edition of 60. Signed and editioned on mount recto. Framed approx. 27 x 30". [ship, harbor, ...
Category

Early 20th Century Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Fulton Street Market, Manhattan Skyline
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
8 x 10 inch vintage gelatin silver print Artist stamps and pencil notations on verso
Category

1930s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Herald Square, 34th Street
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in New York, NY
15 x 19.5 inch gelatin silver print, printed circa 1980 Signed and editioned on mount recto #21/60
Category

1930s Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

Atget
By Berenice Abbott, 1898-1991
Located in Dallas, TX
Signed.
Category

1920s Modern Berenice Abbott Photography

Materials

Silver Gelatin

  • Atget
  • Atget
H 13.5 in. W 10.25 in. D 0.1 in.

Berenice Abbott photography for sale on 1stDibs

Find 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, paper and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 20th Century and is mostly associated with the Contemporary style. Not every interior allows for large Berenice Abbott photography, so small editions measuring 4.630000114440918 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of Lillian Bassman, William Klein and George Hurrell. Berenice Abbott photography prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at US$1,500 and tops out at US$25,000, while the average work can sell for US$11,750.
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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