Exhibitions/ Art Object

[High-Contrast Graphic Design Incorporating Repeated Image of Daily News Building]

Artist:
Thurman Rotan (American, 1903–1991)
Date:
ca. 1930
Medium:
Gelatin silver print From copy negative
Dimensions:
22.2 x 18.2 cm (8 3/4 x 7 3/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.1100.136
Not on view
Engineering developments in the 1880s enabled the construction of large, multistory buildings using steel frames to support non-load-bearing walls, which soon dominated urban skylines. One such edifice, the Daily News Building in Manhattan, provides the central motif for Rotan’s photocollage. Completed two years previously, the Art Deco building was already a well-known symbol of modernity, and Rotan uses its striped facade to set up a pattern of repeating black and white geometric forms. Rather than depicting the skyline from afar, Rotan’s photocollage plunges the viewer into the immersive architectural rhythm of the modern city.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print, verso, UL: "Photographic design // by // Thurman Rotan"; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso, UL [upside down]; UR; LC; LR [upside down]: "278/4"; "874. // Rotan // 1930 // end papers" [in JCW's hand]; "LGC#64"; "15C"
Laura Gilpin; (sale, Sotheby's, New York, May 7, 1985, Lot #278 to De Lellis); [Keith De Lellis to Waddell, May 18, 1985]; John C. Waddell

JCW notes that this pattern was used on the endpapers in H.G. Wells' The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (New York: Doubleday, 1931, 2 vols.).
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