BERENICE ABBOTT (American 1898 – 1991)

Berenice Abbott was born in Springfield, Ohio, on July 17, 1898. She moved to Paris in 1921 and began her photographic career as an assistant to Man Ray.  In the 1920s, Abbott worked in Paris but promptly returned to the United States, spending most of her productive life in New York City. Abbott was fascinated by the pace of life that she observed in the cities of America, most notoriously in New York City.  She set out to record a period of rapid and exciting change in her photographs.

The accomplishments that Abbott made during her years in photography include portraiture, modernist experimentation, documentation and scientific interpretation. She started the photography program at the New School of Social Research and wrote extensively, including several books and numerous articles. She received four patents for technical innovations of her own design. Abbott acquired the archive of French master photographer Eugene Atget and promoted his work. Abbott remained a productive and creative photographer until her death in 1991 in Monson, Maine.

Selected Collections:

J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota

Museum of Fine Art, Houston

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California

Addison Gallery of American Art, Massachusetts