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Berenice Abbott (American, 1898–1991)
LOT ID: 69544
City Arabesque, 1938

Silver Print, gelatin silver print
23.25 х 17.25 in. (59.06 x 43.82 cm.)
Signed, and numbered on mount recto. Parasol Press ink stamp on verso.
Edition 15/40
Lot description
(59.1 x 43.8 cm); mount size is 36 x 30 inches (91.4 x 76.2 cm). Framed in black wood.

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991)

The challenge for me has first been to see things as they are, whether a portrait, a city street, or a bouncing ball. In a word, I have tried to be objective. What I mean by objectivity is not the objectivity of a machine, but of a sensible human being with the mystery of personal selection at the heart of it. The second challenge has been to impose order onto the things seen and to supply the visual context and the intellectual framework – that to me is the art of photography.
—Berenice Abbott

At age seventy-seven Berenice Abbott thus explained her approach to making images. She learned photography in the 1920s in Paris, as a studio assistant of fellow American expatriate Man Ray. She soon opened her own portrait studio, where she photographed artists and intellectuals living in Paris, including James Joyce and Eugène Atget. After Atget's death, Abbott was instrumental in promoting his work by preserving his prints and negatives and arranging for publications and exhibitions of his photographs. She returned to the United States and began to photograph the architectural landscape of New York City, which resulted in the publication Changing New York. She taught at the New School for Social Research in New York from the 1930s until 1958. [getty.edu]
City Arabesque by Berenice Abbott
  • City Arabesque by Berenice Abbott
  • City Arabesque by Berenice Abbott
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Sales Results for Comparable Works

  • Berenice Abbott

    New York at night
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 22.8, W 17.9) in.
    (58 x 45.5) cm.
    Sold for: US$21,250
    Thursday, April 05, 2012
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    Lot 00258
  • Berenice Abbott

    Walkway, Manhattan Bridge (from Retrospective Portfolio)
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 23.1, W 18.2) in.
    (58.7 x 46.3) cm.
    Ed. 15/40
    Sold for: US$6,875
    Tuesday, April 03, 2012
    Sotheby's New York
    Lot 00064
  • Berenice Abbott

    City arabesque
    photographs, silver print
    (H 23.2, W 17.2) in.
    (59.1 x 43.8) cm.
    Ed. 15/40
    Sold for: US$7,475
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011
    artnet Auctions
    Lot 59478
  • Berenice Abbott

    El station interior, sixth and ninth avenue lines, columbus avenue and 72nd street
    photographs, silver print
    (H 16, W 20) in.
    (40.6 x 50.8) cm.
    Ed. 32/60
    Sold for: US$4,600
    Thursday, September 08, 2011
    artnet Auctions
    Lot 54307
  • Berenice Abbott

    New York at night: Empire State building, 350 Fifth Avenue, West Side, 34th and 33rd Streets (from Berenice Abbott: 10 Photographs)
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 13.3, W 10.2) in.
    (33.8 x 26) cm.
    Ed. ed.50
    Sold for: US$11,172
    Thursday, May 26, 2011
    Villa Grisebach Auktionen GmbH
    Lot 01301
  • Berenice Abbott

    New York at night
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 23.0, W 18.0) in.
    (58.4 x 45.7) cm.
    Ed. 55/60
    Sold for: US$9,375
    Wednesday, October 06, 2010
    Sotheby's New York
    Lot 00081
  • Berenice Abbott

    Exchange place
    photographs, silver print
    (H 13.5, W 3.8) in.
    (34.3 x 9.5) cm.
    Ed. 4/60
    Sold for: US$4,600
    Thursday, August 19, 2010
    artnet Auctions
    Lot 28956
  • Berenice Abbott

    Repair parafoti
    photographs, silver print
    (H 18, W 23, D 1) in.
    (45.7 x 58.4 x 2.5) cm.
    Ed. edition of 40
    Sold for: US$2,875
    Thursday, June 03, 2010
    artnet Auctions
    Lot 26461
  • Berenice Abbott

    Downtown skyport, foot of Wall Street, East River, Manhattan
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 23.0, W 18.0) in.
    (58.4 x 45.7) cm.
    Ed. 28/40
    Sold for: US$5,520
    Thursday, May 20, 2010
    Swann Galleries
    Lot 00314
  • Berenice Abbott

    Flatiron building
    photographs, silver print
    (H 23.5, W 17.2) in.
    (59.7 x 43.8) cm.
    Ed. PP 1/1
    Sold for: US$12,650
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010
    artnet Auctions
    Lot 21476
  • Berenice Abbott

    Treasury building from j. p. morgan's office
    photographs, silver print
    (H 23, W 18.2) in.
    (58.4 x 46.4) cm.
    Ed. 5/40
    Sold for: US$3,850
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010
    artnet Auctions
    Lot 21487
  • Berenice Abbott

    Fifth Avenue, #4, 6, 8
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 18.1, W 23.1) in.
    (46 x 58.7) cm.
    Ed. 8/60
    Sold for: US$8,125
    Wednesday, October 15, 2008
    Sotheby's New York
    Lot 00130
  • Berenice Abbott

    Flatiron building (from Retrospective Portfolio)
    photograph, mntd
    (H 23.2, W 17.6) in.
    (59 x 44.8) cm.
    Ed. 39/40
    Sold for: US$15,600
    Thursday, April 26, 2007
    Sotheby's New York
    Lot 00027
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