Fifth Avenue, Nos. 4, 6, 8

Berenice Abbott (American, Springfield, Ohio 1898–1991 Monson, Maine)
Gelatin silver print
19.2 x 24.4 cm (7 9/16 x 9 5/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© Berenice Abbott / Commerce Graphics Ltd. Inc.
Not on view
In 1929, after eight years in Paris, Abbott returned to America, bringing with her an immense collection of photographs by Eugène Atget and the ideas of European modernist photographers. Her first pictures of New York show the modernist influence in the sharply angled viewpoints and tendency toward abstraction. By the mid-1930s, however, Atget emerged as the stronger influence, as Abbott's style became more straightforward and documentary.

In 1935 Abbott embarked on a series documenting New York funded by the Federal Art Project, and during the next four years she made hundreds of images of the city's monuments and architecture. Ninety-seven of these, including "Fifth Avenue, Nos. 4, 6, 8," were published in "Changing New York" (1939). The caption for this picture informs us that "No. 8 was once the home of the art collection which formed a part of the original Metropolitan Museum of Art."

Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print, verso, top left: "dup."; center: "Fifth Avenue, Nos. 4-6-8 Manhattan // Neg. #87 code #IA.1. and IA.3 // March 20, 1936"; stamped in yellow on print, verso, center: "photograph // berenice abbott // 50 commerce st. // new york city"; stamped in red on print, verso, lower right [in box]: "FEDERAL ART PROJECT // "Changing New York" // PHOTOGRAPHS BY BERENIC [illegible]"
[Robert Miller Gallery, New York]; John C. Waddell (May 16, 1985)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 9," June 12, 1995–August 28, 1995.

Published in New Vision as "Fifth Avenue and West 8th Street, New York," 1935.