In the late 1920s and early '30s, Ralph Steiner was one of a number of artists, among them Walker Evans and Berenice Abbott, who eschewed geometric abstraction and machine culture for a more documentary, objective rendering of everyday life in New York City. They were interested, for example, in the costume and gait of anonymous pedestrians, the urban forest of billboards and shop windows, and the new car culture. Unlike the gleaming visions of advertising executives, Steiner's billboard reveals itself more as an archaeological dig replete with broken fragments of soaps, condiments, and worn out automobiles.
Inscription: Inscribed in unknown hand in pencil on mount, verso C: "Ralph Steiner [sideways]"
From the artist to Julien Levy; Jonathan Levy Bayer [Julien's son]