Chrysler Building with Old Houses
Paul Grotz American, born Germany
Grotz and his wife would eventually join Berenice Abbott’s circle in Greenwich Village, but as a bachelor, he had roomed with Walker Evans in Brooklyn. The two men would travel around the city to make pictures, often photographing the same sights and trading cameras as they went. Grotz had trained as an architect in Stuttgart, and his views of the evolving skyline reveal a specialist’s interest in structure, expressed in the dynamic idiom of the German avant-garde. Still rising in 1929, the Chrysler Building was a favorite subject of his. Here, he contrasts its sleek white skin with craggy older facades cast in shadow. A contractor’s office, pictured in the foreground, prefigures further changes to the neighborhood.