Abbott, Berenice

Abbott, Berenice
born July 17, 1898, Springfield, Ohio, U.S.
died Dec. 9, 1991, Monson, Maine

U.S. photographer.

She left the American Midwest in 1918 to study in New York City, Paris, and Berlin. In Paris she became an assistant to Man Ray and Eugène Atget. In 1925 she set up her own studio and made portraits of Parisian expatriates, artists, writers, and collectors. She retrieved and catalogued Atget's prints and negatives after his death. In the 1930s she photographed New York's neighbourhoods for the WPA Federal Art Project, documenting its changing architecture; many of the photographs were published in Changing New York (1939).

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▪ American photographer
born July 17, 1898, Springfield, Ohio, U.S.
died December 9, 1991, Monson, Maine

      photographer best known for her photographic documentation of New York City in the late 1930s and for her preservation of the works of Eugène Atget.

      Abbott studied briefly at Ohio State University before moving in 1918 to New York City, where she explored sculpture and drawing on her own for four years. She continued these pursuits for a time in Berlin and then from 1923 to 1935 worked as a darkroom assistant to the American Dadaist and Surrealist artist Man Ray in Paris. In 1925 Abbott set up her own photography studio in Paris and made several well-known portraits of expatriates, artists, writers, and aristocrats, including James Joyce, André Gide, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Cocteau, Max Ernst, Leo Stein, Peggy Guggenheim, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. During this period she came into contact with the French photographer Eugène Atget (Atget, Eugène), whose documentary work was at that time little known outside of Paris. After Atget's death in 1927, Abbott retrieved his prints and negatives, saving them from destruction; in the following years she dedicated herself to promoting his work. (Her Atget collection was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1968.)

 Abbott returned to New York City in 1929 and was struck by its rapid modernization. Continuing to do portraits, she also began to document the city itself, no doubt inspired by Atget's documentation of Paris. This project evolved into a Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA Federal Art Project) in 1935. For about three years she continued to document systematically the city's changing architectural character in a series of crisp, objective photographs, some of which were published in 1939 in the book Changing New York (reissued as New York in the Thirties, 1973). During this period she was also on the advisory board of the Photo League (1936–52), an organization of photographers interested in capturing urban life.

      Over the course of the next two decades Abbott taught photography at the New School for Social Research in New York and experimented with photography as a tool to illustrate scientific phenomena, such as magnetism and motion, for a mass audience. She also continued to document the landscape around her; for one project she photographed scenes along U.S. Route 1 from Florida to Maine. In 1968 she settled in Maine, where she concentrated on printing her work.

      Among Abbott's books are Guide to Better Photography (1941), The View Camera Made Simple (1948), Greenwich Village Today and Yesterday (1949), The World of Atget (1964), A Portrait of Maine (1968), and Berenice Abbott: Photographs (1970).

Additional Reading
Hank O'Neal, Berenice Abbott: American Photographer (1982); Bonnie Yochelson, Berenice Abbott: Changing New York (1997).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Abbott,Berenice — Ab·bott (ăbʹət), Berenice. 1898 1991. American photographer known especially for her series of black and white portraits of New York City. * * * …   Universalium

  • Abbott, Berenice — (17 jul. 1898, Springfield, Ohio, EE.UU.–9 dic. 1991, Monson, Maine). Fotógrafa estadounidense. Dejó la región del medio oeste estadounidense en 1918 para estudiar en Nueva York, París y Berlín. En París se convirtió en asistente de Man Ray y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Berenice — Bérénice Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Bérénice est un nom propre qui peut désigner : Sommaire 1 Prénom 2 Personnages …   Wikipédia en Français

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