Berenice Abbot was an American photographer, and a central bridge between the cultural, photographic and artistic hubs of New York and Paris. She made vital connections with Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, who were both crucial leaders of the American avant-garde movement, and in 1921 she moved to Paris and became Man Ray’s assistant.
After being Man Ray’s protege, Abbott started a life of her own, and when she arrived in New York around 1929, Abbott was interested in photographing the rapid transformation of the city, and some of her more celebrated photographs are those of the Big Apple. As Abbott described it in her own words, “At almost any point on Manhattan Island, the sweep of one’s vision can take in the dramatic contrasts of the old and the new and the bold foreshadowing of the future. This dynamic quality should be caught and recorded immediately in a documentary interpretation of New York City. The city is in the making and unless this transition is crystalized now in permanent form, it will be forever lost…. The camera alone can catch the swift surfaces of the cities today and speaks a language intelligible to all.”
Joining a social group of artists, philosophers, and writers, and in addition to her vivid portrayals of the city of New York, Abbott was also a fervid photographer of portraits and took photos of miscellaneous inspirational figures of the time, including Djuna Barnes, Lucia and Nora Joyce, and others. Around 1939, Abbott engaged in the photographic scientific phenomena and worked for the Physical Science Study Committee at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Many contemporary photographers, designers, and artists are thus highly influenced by Abbot’s photographs, whether in the medium of portraying people or cities. Abbott managed to create a longing for a volatile, changing city such as New York, and for the inspirational people that she photographed. Through her creative imagination, she managed to reveal to us and indestructible essence of a place or of a person.
We are fortunate and proud to say that Chateau Cramirat Gallery by Dan Alexander is now an official Abbott collector, dedicated to rounding these magnificent photographs from around the globe.
Just as Abbott fell in love with the invisible and yet so distinct line between NY and Paris, at Dan Alexander + Co walk the same path, pursuing great dreams.