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Berenice Abbott (American, 1898–1991)
LOT ID: 28931
Fifth Avenue, Nos. 4, 6, 8, ie. circa 1936

Silver Print, gelatin silver print
10.5 х 13.5 in. (26.67 x 34.29 cm.)
Signed, print is signed and numbered 4/60 recto
Print/Casting Year 1979
Edition 4/60
Lot description
Berenice Abbott, Fifth Avenue, Nos. 4, 6, 8, March 20, 1936. Gelatin silver prints, 10.5 x 13.5 inches, 26.6 x 34.3 centimeters. Mounted on 16 x 20 inch (40.6 x 50.8 centimeters) museum board. Edition 4 of 60. Signed. Comes with original documentary sheets.

Published in 1979 from the original negative.

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.[]
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Sales Results for Comparable Works

  • Berenice Abbott

    Fifth Avenue houses, #4, 6, 8
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 14.8, W 19.0) in.
    (37.5 x 48.3) cm.
    Sold for: US$2,640
    Thursday, May 20, 2010
    Swann Galleries
    Lot 00315
  • Berenice Abbott

    Fifth avenue houses
    photographs, silver print
    (H 16, W 20) in.
    (40.6 x 50.8) cm.
    Sold for: US$9,200
    Thursday, April 29, 2010
    artnet Auctions
    Lot 24681
  • Berenice Abbott

    Fifth Avenue houses, no.4, 6, 8
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 10.2, W 13.2) in.
    (26 x 33.6) cm.
    Sold for: US$3,120
    Tuesday, December 8, 2009
    Swann Galleries
    Lot 00312
  • Berenice Abbott

    Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 18.0, W 23.0) in.
    (45.7 x 58.4) cm.
    Sold for: US$5,280
    Thursday, October 22, 2009
    Swann Galleries
    Lot 00140
  • Berenice Abbott

    Fifth Avenue houses, nos. 4, 6, 8
    gold-toned gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 10.6, W 13.5) in.
    (27.0 x 34.3) cm.
    Sold for: US$4,200
    Sunday, April 26, 2009
    Rago Arts and Auction Center
    Lot 00897
  • Berenice Abbott

    Exchange Place (+ Fifth Avenue; 2 works)
    photographs, mntd
    (H 18.9, W 5.1) in.
    (48 x 13) cm.
    Sold for: US$10,000
    Monday, March 30, 2009
    Sotheby's New York
    Lot 00057
  • Berenice Abbott

    Fifth Avenue houses, nos. 4, 6, 8
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 15.2, W 19.2) in.
    (38.6 x 48.8) cm.
    Sold for: US$6,993
    Saturday, May 31, 2008
    Lot 00037
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