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Berenice Abbott (American, 1898–1991)
Grand Opera House, 1936-1937

Springfield, Ohio born Berenice Abbott began her career not as a photographer, but as a sculptor, a goal she pursued by moving to New York City in 1918, where her association with such artists as Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp propelled her into the heady world of the literary and artistic avant-garde. To further her studies as a sculptor, she departed for Paris and Berlin in 1921. Work as a darkroom assistant in Man Ray’s Parisian studio stimulated her interest in photography and by 1926 Abbott was a successful photographer in her own right. Of equal import to Man Ray’s influence was Abbott’s introduction, in 1925, to Eugène Atget, the tireless photographic chronicler of the disappearing Parisian environment. Abbott’s appreciation for Atget’s work, which she championed and preserved, continued upon her return to New York in 1929. Like Paris, New York City was undergoing rapid change and, like Atget, Abbott was determined to document her city’s fading architectural history before it was lost forever. In 1935, in association with the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration, Abbott embarked on a project to photograph New York’s disappearing cityscape. The result was a set of 302 images and, in 1939, the traveling exhibition and book, Changing New York. This important work (re-published in 1973 as New York in the Thirties) included 97 of Abbott’s photographs with commentary by art critic (and Abbott’s life partner) Elizabeth McCausland. Grand Opera House was one of the photographs created in the course of this landmark documentary project. Here we see the strong, artistically ornamented facade of a once impressive theater. Constructed in 1868, the Grand Opera House was located at the corner of 23rd Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Abbott’s powerful diagonal composition and close perspective emphasize the proportions of the building and isolate it from the busy corner on which it stood, while direct sunlight imparts an elegiac glow. Abbott captured this luminous architectural portrait shortly before the building’s conversion into a modern RKO movie theater in 1938. This theater, in turn, survived until 1960 when it was demolished for a housing development. - Paula B. Freedman

Berenice Abbott, 1921, portrait by Man Ray

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Vintage / Classic
Grand Opera House
Title: Grand Opera House, New York
Artist: Berenice Abbott
Date of image: 1936, printed 1937
Size: 8x10 inches (20x25 cm)
Format: silver gelatin
Features: artist stamp, notated and dated on back     V, 1
Details: contact print Abbott made from 8x10 camera
Price: $5000 (appraisal included)
Sale Price: $4200*
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EMERGING / Contemporary
Wedding Musician, Agra
Title: Wedding Musician, Agra, India
Artist: Kip Harris
Date of image: 2014
Size: 17x22 inches (43x56 cm)
Format: archival pigment
Features: signed on back, edition of 5
Price: $500
Sale Price: $425*
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Some Kind Of Blue
Our instructions were simple. Present photographs our collectors will like that include blue. We present the winners of our recent contest here.
Dream Of The Private Eye
Title: Dream Of The Private Eye
Artist: Stephen Sheffield
Date of image: 1993
Size: 8x10 inches (20x25 cm)
Format: Cyanotype
Features: signed on back, edition of 10
Price: $300
Sale Price: $275*
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